After almost 20 years in space, the Cassini probe's mission will end
on September 15, 2017 at 8:07 a.m. EDT (0007 GMT Sept. 16).
In late 2016, the Cassini spacecraft will begin a new type of mission at Saturn. During its final months, the spacecraft's orbit will carry it high above the planet's north pole and then send it plunging between the planet and the innermost edge of its rings.
Beginning on Nov. 30, 2016, Cassini will repeatedly climb high above Saturn's north pole, then plunge to a point just outside the narrow F ring (the edge of the main rings), completing 22 such orbits. Then, on April 22, 2017, Cassini will leap over the rings to begin its final series of dives between the planet and the inner edge of the rings. This is the Cassini "Grand Finale."
After 22 of these orbits, each taking six days to complete, the spacecraft, will plunge into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant planet, where it will burn up like a meteor, ending the mission to the Saturn system.