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Countdown begins for Cassini’s final plunge into Saturn

16 September 2016 Astronomy Now

After more than 12 years studying Saturn, its rings and moons, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its epic voyage. The Grand Finale will come on 15 September 2017 as Cassini dives into Saturn’s cloud tops, where friction with the atmosphere will cause the spacecraft to burn up like a meteor.

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New Horizons’ manoeuvres put it on course for post-Pluto rendezvous

8 November 2015 Astronomy Now

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, speeding toward deeper space at more than 32,000 miles per hour, has successfully performed a series of targeting manoeuvres that set it on course for a January 2019 encounter with Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. This ancient body is more than a billion miles beyond Pluto. The propulsive manoeuvres were the most distant trajectory corrections ever performed by any spacecraft.

NASA's reworked image of Europa based on late 1990s data from the Galileo spacecraft.
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Science instruments selected for NASA’s Europa mission

27 May 2015 Astronomy Now

NASA has selected nine science instruments for a future mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa in which a spacecraft would make multiple close flybys of the icy world — thought to contain a global subsurface ocean — to investigate whether the mysterious moon could harbour conditions suitable for life.