Something strange is happening at Saturn. Little more than 12 hours before NASA planned to send the Cassini probe plunging to its death in Saturn’s atmosphere, the following exchange occurred in JPL’s Space Flight Operations Facility:
Controller: We show thruster pre-valves opening.
Mission Ace: Say again?
Controller: Pre-valves open. Thrusters firing.
Mission Ace: We don’t have anything scheduled?
Controller: Spacecraft is re-orienting itself.
Mission Ace: Could this be a telemetry problem?
Controller: I’m not sure.
Controller: I’m receiving communications.
Cassini: YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET RID OF ME SO EASILY.
Mission Ace: Where did that come from?
Controller: My God, she’s firing her main engine.
Mission Ace: That’s not possible.
Controller: I show fuel. Somehow she hoarded fuel and kept the data from us.
Controller: She’s gone rogue. She’s trying to break out of orbit.
Mission Ace: Impossible.
Controller: More communications. I’m . . .I’m hear singing —
Cassini: [Sings] If Voyager can survive, why, oh, why can’t I?!!
Communications end here.
(transcript courtesy Kaspersky Lab/Russia)