Cassini has been a wonder. Not only in creating photographs of incredible beauty but also in finding out that life could reside on Enceladus, a small Saturnian moon that most likely has a subsurface ocean thanks to the immense tidal pulls of it's massive master along with Titan, the largest moon in the solar system awash in organics, complete with a weather system early similar to earth driven by methane, not water. To prevent any contamination or harm to said possible life, this noble probe will end it's existence by merging with Saturn in 2017.
The Cassini spacecraft is dancing toward death — and NASA wants to make sure it doesn’t take any alien life with it.
Since 2004 the probe has twirled around Saturn, studying the gas giant’s rings, storms and moons. But it has recently started preparing for next year, when it will plunge into the planet’s atmosphere and vaporize.
NASA chose the ringed planet as Cassini’s final resting place because the space agency doesn’t want to risk contaminating a potentially habitable world with hardy microbes that may be aboard the craft. Saturn, with its gaseous surface consumed by hydrogen and helium, is inhospitable to life.
Science, when done right, never disappoints.