Where spacecraft go to die
On 15 September, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will conclude a nearly 20-year-long mission by diving into Saturn’s atmosphere. The heat and speed of entry will rip apart and vaporize the 2-ton probe, but it will gather data for as long as it can—a fitting finish for a mission that transformed our knowledge of the saturnian system.
Cassini’s demise was intentional. If it were left to orbit around Saturn, it may have one day crashed into the moons Titan or Enceladus, potentially contaminating their liquid oceans with earthly microbes. But other missions have had far less happy farewells.
Here, Science takes a look at the 42 spacecraft that, intentionally or not, have met their end on another planet.
Source and the results of the many resting places for spacecrafts: Science Magazine