However, all good things must come to an end and Cassini was sent to a fiery death after revealing secrets on the giant gas planet and its 62 moons. Others are just switched off. NASA's Cassini, though, is going down fighting as it plunges into Saturn, sending back science right up until its final moments.
Cassini-Huygens travelled to Saturn via a circuitous route, using the gravity assist technique to receive boosts in speed from the Earth, Venus, and Jupiter, and taking in an asteroid, Masursky, along the way.
"Our spacecraft has entered Saturn's atmosphere, and we have received its final transmission", it tweeted, three minutes before 2pm SAST. After receiving a "goodbye kiss" from Titan on September 11-a gravitational sling from the large moon to put the spacecraft on the correct trajectory-Cassini hurled toward Saturn one last time at roughly 75,000 miles per hour, on a collision course to plunge into the planet itself and burn up in the high clouds.
The spacecraft's dive to the planet is the final step of the mission, which was to take pictures and collect key information about its environment.
Cassini launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1997, then spent seven years in transit followed by 13 years orbiting Saturn.
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"But, we take comfort knowing that every time we look up at Saturn in the night sky, part of Cassini will be there, too", Spilker added. The spacecraft's mission was to study the giant planet, its rings, moons and magnetosphere.
According to NASA, one of the final pieces of data captured by the spacecraft was an infrared photo it took while plummeting to the planet.
One of Cassini's most important discoveries was the existence of a global watery ocean under the icy surface of Enceladus that could conceivably harbour life.
Including Titan, Cassini explored a total of 19 Saturnian moons in detail.
"While it's always sad when a mission comes to an end, Cassini's finale plunge is a truly spectacular end for one of the most scientifically rich voyages yet undertaken in our solar system", NASA's statement said. Perhaps most tantalising, ocean worlds were unveiled by Cassini and its hitchhiking companion, the Huygens lander, on the moons Enceladus and Titan, which could possibly harbour life.
During its mission, Cassini made numerous scientific discoveries and significantly changed the way we think about our solar system.