So this is the end, Cassini.
And to prepare us for the end, NASA has released the above video that simulates Cassini’s last days. It’s a spellbinding recap of Cassini’s greatest hits and, starting at about 1:55, a preview of its grand finale.
On April 22nd, Cassini will make a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan that will bend the spacecraft’s orbit and enable it to begin its final sequence starting on April 26th. For the next five months, Cassini will make a series of dives between Saturn and its mighty rings, a path that will bring it closer and closer to Saturn.
And, then, in mid-September, Cassini will make its final plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, burning up in the process, but being ensconced forever in our hearts.