NASA's Cassini probe is plunging to its death.
The nuclear-powered spacecraft has orbited Saturn for 13 years, and sent back hundreds of thousands of images. The photos include close-ups of the gaseous giant, its famous rings, and its enigmatic moons — including Titan, which has its own atmosphere, and icy Enceladus, which has a subsurface ocean that could conceivably harbor microbial life.
To prevent Cassini from crashing into and contaminating any of those hidden oceans, the space agency has directed the craft, which is running out of fuel, onto a crash course with Saturn.
On Monday, the space probe conducted the first of its final five orbits around the planet, dipping into Saturn's atmosphere,