Saturn Cassini
A photo of Saturn taken by Cassini, Venus can be seen through the rings. NASA

On an October night in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft set out for a journey like no other.

The craft was created to make the long journey from Earth to the sixth planet from the Sun, ringed Saturn. After it arrived at Saturn in 2004, Cassini spent 13 years exploring relaying information back to Earth about the planet, its moons and its rings.

Read: 9 Stunning Photos From Space From NASA Images Library

But 2017 will be the little explorer’s final year. The craft is now 20 years old and after years of traveling and orbiting Saturn, it’s running out of fuel used to correct its path. Operators would be unable to stop Cassini from colliding with one of Saturn’s moons should it run out of fuel so to avoid possibly contaminating those moons, NASA will guide Cassini into the atmosphere of Saturn to burn up before its fuel is spent.

But before Cassini sees its final day, it “will undertake a daring set of orbits that is, in many ways, like a whole new mission,” according to NASA. The craft will fly by Saturn’s moon, Titan, one last time before hopping over the planet’s rings and completing 22 dives between the planet and its rings.

After the craft plunges towards the planet, it will hurtle towards obliteration all while sending back details information to Earth, before it burns up “becoming part of the planet itself,” says NASA.

There will be a news conference Tuesday afternoon in which NASA will discuss the first steps of Cassini’s “grand finale.”

Take a look at some of the photos Cassini has taken over the years:

Jupiter from Cassini
Cassini also took pictures of Jupiter from a far while on its trip to Saturn. NASA
cassini saturn
Saturn with a shadow of its moon Enceladus can be seen in this 2009 photo taken by Cassini. NASA
cassini saturn
This photo may not look like much, but it's the "most intense spectacular reflection" Cassini has captured. It's a photo of sunlight reflecting off of a hydrocarbon lake on Saturn's moon Titan. NASA
cassini titan
These three photos are a set of views of Saturn's largest moon Titan. NASA
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