So have you heard about Cassini spacecraft? It’s a wahana antariksa yang dibuat untuk mengeksplorasi Saturn. It was launched back in 1997, and in 17:55 hari ini we receive its last transmission. That means Cassini’s being kinda as old as I am when it died. Intinya, karena dengan energi yang memang mau abis dan bakal mengakibatkan Cassini mati dan gabisa dikontrol orbitnya NASA mutusin untuk memberikan Cassini one final mission to go through: the Grand Finale. Cassini udah ngelakuin 9-year extension mission when its prime mission ended in 2008, dan Cassini bakal mengorbit Saturn untuk terakhir kali selama beberapa bulan dan tadi baru aja terjun bebas ke atmosfir Saturn untuk mencegah Cassini menabrak bulan Saturn ketika energinya abis supaya tidak mengkontaminasi bulan Saturn dengan bakteri atau mikroba yang terbawa dari Bumi.
Publik udah diberi tahu dari bulan lalu kalau Cassini bakal “menabrak” Saturn tapi gue gak nyangka bisa gak sesiap ini buat nerima Cassini pergi. Gue udah tau Cassini dari buku tentang luar angkasa pas 4-5 SD. Dan selama itu gue udah takjub dengan gambar-gambar saturn beserta bulan-bulannya yang Cassini foto. Diantara satelit yang mengorbit planet selain Bumi, hanya beberapa yang bisa sepopuler dan seberpengaruh kayak Cassini. Bagi orang awam mungkin emang enggak begitu mengerti kontribusi dari Cassini selain dari judul berita yang kadang-kadang sensationalist kayak “ALIENS IN SATURN’S MOON????” tapi bagi space enthuiast Cassini was such a huge deal.
It discovered countless new moons and did notable flyby with couple of them, discovered there were huge geyser of water from Saturn’s ice covered moon Enceladus, discovered laked of methanes on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, and mapped its surface more than ever before, studied more in-depth about Saturn’s rings and its atmosphere, took a photograph of the entire Saturn system featuring Earth in the picture as a pale blue dot, and brought a probe named after Titan’s discoverer, C. Huygens and made it lands on it as the only man-made thing to be landed outside of inner solar system and survived the impact!!, and of course countless stunning incredible images of Saturn with its rings and moons to made Cassini be the darling of space communities.
Space, in general, is such a huge part of me and I was kinda disappointed with myself I wasn’t able to choose it as my studies or studies it as my job because there a lot of things that human have yet to discovered and I really want to be a part of that. And knowing Cassini from that age made it for me kinda like a person that I know — a friend even, that I need to say goodbye with. And you know me as a sentimentalist, goodbye is rarely heard from me. I know spacecraft have a certain lifespan and that’s normal. But me being a weirdo it’s hard to let go a friend. I practically grew up seeing the images Cassini sent to earth and know how far we as humans have gotten it’s hard to imagine without Cassini. And knowing there will not a be another new data or photos of Saturn from up close for years because there is no future plan to explore Saturn’s system again just kinda makes this whole thing more depressing.
I know you won’t share the connection that I and Cassini shared, but I just wanted people to know that Cassini won’t go in vain. And it’s hard not to bawl when it sent the last transmission signal for the last time, its last voice. I’m happy though Cassini finally became one with a planet it had been orbiting and dancing for its entire lifetime. You will be missed dearly, Cassini.
tl;dr Cassini is dead, and I’m dead too in here.