Since entering orbit around Saturn in 2004, NASA’s Cassini mission has transformed our understanding of the famous ringed planet and its moons. But on 15 September the mission will come to an abrupt ending when the spacecraft plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere, burning up on entry. This death dive will mark the end of Cassini’s so-called “Grand Finale” tour, which has seen it take 22 plunges into the space between Saturn and its rings since April. These daring dives could provide vital information about the nature and origin of the rings. Check out our animated guide to Cassini’s Grand Finale tour, which explains why scientists decided to end the mission in such a dramatic fashion.

To learn more about the Cassini Grand Finale tour, check out this article from the September 2017 issue of Physics World, written by mission scientist Joshua Colwell. Colwell has also written an illustrated ebook, which documents the key discoveries of Cassini’s 13-year mission.