After 20 years in space NASA’s Cassini mission is coming to an end in April. The spacecraft , which was launched in 1997 to explore Saturn and its moons, is running out of fuel and will crash on Saturn’s surface .
Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004, after a 7-year long journey. It carried the Huygens probe , which landed on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005. In the last decade Cassini has been exploring the planet and its moons. Recently , the spacecraft has revealed that there are giant oceans under the frozen surfaces of some of Saturn’s moons. It also discovered the existence of hydrogen , one of the building blocks of life.
In its last task before hitting Saturn’s surface , Cassini will pass through the space between the planet’s surface and its rings. It will travel closer to Saturn than ever before. NASA scientists expect Cassini to find out even more about the Saturn’s mysterious rings than we already know.
- arrive = here: to get to a planet
- building block = an element that is needed to produce something else
- decade = ten years
- discover = to find something for the first time
- explore = to find out more about something that has just been discovered
- fuel = energy that an object uses to travel
- giant = very large
- hydrogen = a colourless gas; the lightest of all gases
- journey = trip
- launch = to start a journey
- mission = long trip, often to a place that is not known very much
- mysterious = strange and unusual
- probe = a small unmanned spacecraft
- recently = a short time ago
- reveal = show
- scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
- spacecraft = object that can fly through space and to other planets
- surface = the top layer of a planet
- task = job; something to do