Death Dive to Saturn

Follow Cassini's final days as it skims the cloud tops before plunging into the planet. Airing September 13, 2017 at 9 pm on PBS Aired September 13, 2017 on PBS

Program Description

Almost everything we know today about the beautiful giant ringed planet comes from Cassini, the NASA mission that launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004. Since then, the spacecraft has been beaming home miraculous images and scientific data, revealing countless wonders about the planet, its rings, and 62 moons—including some that could harbor life. As the mission approaches its final days in 2017, it attempts one last set of daring maneuvers—diving between the innermost ring and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere. Aiming to skim less than 2,000 miles above the cloud tops, no spacecraft has ever gone so close to Saturn and hopes are high for incredible observations that could solve major mysteries about the planet’s core. But such a daring maneuver comes with many risks. Join NASA engineers for the tense and triumphant moments as they find out if their gambit has paid off, and discover the wonders that Cassini has revealed over the years.

 

Broadcast Credits

WRITTEN, PRODUCED, AND DIRECTED BY
Terri Randall
EDITED BY
Jedd Ehrmann
CAMERA
David Arabia Yoann Le Gruiec
Thomas van Krugten
Daniel Traub
Vicente Franco
Michael Coles
Jason Longo
Joseph Friedman
Ian Asbjornsen
NARRATED BY
Craig Sechler
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Avner Tavori
ANIMATION
Edward Bell
Brian Edgerton
Interstellar Illustrations
Ernest T. Wright
Moore Boeck, Inc.
NASA/JPL/Caltech
Luis Andrade
Martin Brennan
Ron Miller
SOUND RECORDISTS
Tim Kitz
Renaud Natkin 
Willem De Wijs
Lauretta Molitor
Alexander Marshall
ADDITIONAL EDITING
Jose Casado
ONLINE EDITOR AND COLORIST
Evan Anthony
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Heart Punch Studio
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Barbara Busfield
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Greg Kibler
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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SPECIAL THANKS
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory of Operations
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
European Space Agency
European Southern Observatory
Center for Marine Environmental Sciences of the University of Bremen
Amateur Astronomers Association of NY
Smithsonian Institution
The Royal Society of London, UK
W. M. Keck Observatory/Marcos Van Dam
Wikimedia
Yerkes Observatory
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Alexandra Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
Columbia University
Cornell University
Elena Mejia, JPL
Imperial College, London
Leslie Mullen, JPL
Mark Petrovich, JPL
Mart van Duijn, Universiteit Leiden Bibliotheken
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Brian Kantor
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Caitlin Saks
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Linda Callahan
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Cory Allen
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Kristine Allington
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Kevin Young
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Michael H. Amundson
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Nathan Gunner
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Elizabeth Benjes
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Evan Hadingham
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Chris Schmidt
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A NOVA Production by Terri Randall Productions, Inc. for WGBH Boston

© 2017 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

This program was produced by WGBH, which is solely responsible for its content.

Original funding for this program was provided by Draper, 23andMe, the David H. Koch Fund for Science, The Neil & Anna Rasmussen Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

IMAGE:

Image credit (Cassini animation)
Courtesy NASA

Participants

Cees Andriesse
Physicist/Historian, Utrecht University
Shawn Brooks
Planetary Scientist, JPL
Brent Buffington
Aerospace Engineer, JPL
Athena Coustenis
Planetary Scientist, Paris Observatory
Jeffrey Cuzzi
Planetary Scientist, NASA Ames
Anthony Del Genio
Planetary Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute
Michele Dougherty
Physicist, Imperial College London
Richard French
Lead Scientist, Radio Science Team
Marcello Fulchignoni
Planetary Scientist, Paris Observatory
James Green
Director Planetary Science Division, NASA
Alexander Hayes
Astronomer, Cornell University
J. Hunter Waite
Planetary Scientist, Southwest Research Institute
Luciano Iess
Aerospace Engineer, Sapienza Univ. of Rome
Andrew Ingersoll
Planetary Scientist, Caltech
Jean Pierre LeBreton
Huygens Project Scientist, European Space Agency
Ralph Lorenz
Planetary Scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
Johnathan Lunine
Planetary Scientist, Cornell University
Earl Maize
Cassini Program Manager, JPL
Rebecca Perryman
Operations – Ion & Neutral mass spectrometer on Cassini
Francois Raulin
Exobiologist, Université Paris Est Créteil
Caleb Scharf
Astrobiologist, Columbia University
Vincent Scheerman
Dutch National Museum for the History of Science and Medicine
Linda Spilker
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Paul Steenhorst
Dutch National Museum for the History of Science and Medicine
Matthew Tiscareno
Planetary Scientist, SETI Institute
Julie Webster
Spacecraft Operations Team Member, JPL

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