This morning, after two decades in space, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ended an incredible journey of exploration. With the spacecraft’s fuel spent, operators deliberately plunged Cassini into Saturn—which it had orbited for 13 years —to make sure the planet’s moons remain pristine for future exploration.
A small but significant piece of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument, or MIMI, went with Cassini on its fiery descent. In the early 1990s, APL partnered with six other institutions to design and build MIMI, which studied the charged particles trapped in Saturn’s magnetosphere and also made global images of fast neutral atoms.
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