At 7:55 AM Eastern Time NASA’s Deep Space Network captured the last signals from the Cassini spacecraft. The vehicle, 83 minutes earlier, had dived into the atmosphere of Saturn. As planned, Cassini did its absolute best to keep its antenna pointed towards Earth, sending all the data it could before aerodynamic stresses finally pushed it out of alignment, with the probe finally being destroyed by the planet probably a minute or so later.
I already wrote my thoughts on the end of Cassini over the past week, including a post scheduled for this morning just as Cassini was disintegrating (read Farewell, Cassini… for that) so I won’t reiterate those here – all I will do is share the live broadcast that NASA produced to cover the end of the mission.
Enjoy. Go to about 55 minutes in for the beginning of the end, but keep in mind that thanks to the signal delay, the machine was already gone for over an hour before the signals had reached Earth. In a way, these signals were almost like a ghost, the last echos of activity from a machine that was already long gone.