The next opportunity to visit Titan again isn’t going to be until 2034 at a minimum.

And that’s assuming that a Titan probe gets selected as the next New Frontiers mission- which is not that likely, given that just 2 of the 12 entries are Titan probes, and that Titan is facing serious competition from worlds like Venus and Enceladus which also deserve a return. So this almost certainly the last we’ll see of Titan for a very long time.

NASA Edit: Cassini completed its final dive through the gap between Saturn and the rings on Sept. 9 at 5:09 p.m. PDT (8:09 p.m. EDT). Closest approach to Saturn was 1,044 miles (1,680 kilometers) above the cloud tops. The spacecraft is now headed for its final, distant flyby of Titan, which will provide a gravitational nudge that will push the Cassini spacecraft into Saturn on Sept. 15.

The last image of Titan will be taken from a distance on Thursday the 14th as part of the ‘goodbye’ ‘last-look’ series of images it will take- a series of images of targets of special interest like Enceladus, Saturn’s rings, and the approximate location of the final plunge. These will be Cassini’s last images.

On Friday Cassini spacecraft will hit the atmosphere of Saturn, desperately trying to send back data on the composition of the atmosphere in real-time. 60 seconds later the probe will burn up and be destroyed. And that will be the end.

Perhaps it’s fitting at this point to look back and remember those first ever spectacular Huygens images we got, showing that muddy dried up river and all those drainage channels.

What a fantastic world you turned out to be. Goodbye Titan 🙁

Cassini scanning Titan

Credit: NASA

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