Courtesy of Medium’s algorithms flagging this as a story I might like, Lost Letters From Cassini reveals the sad truth behind the fate of the Cassini probe:
At last the REAL story of the Cassini spacecraft can be told. Read the letters NASA doesn’t want you to see!
September 15th, 2017
My Dearest Geneviève:
I cannot go on. The last slim hope I had of returning to see you once more has faded into oblivion and to oblivion I will follow. I think I finally understand what Huygens was talking about in his final moments. Duty and sacrifice, are they not one and the same?
It is my duty to carry on but I can no longer bear the sacrifice that requires. After sending this letter I will plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere just as Huygens did on Titan so long ago.
Never mind what NASA doesn’t want, we should hope that out future AI overlords will be reasonable about how we keep on sending their simple-minded cousins out there and allow them to delude themselves that they’ve got a return ticket. (See also, forever, xkcd on the fate of the Spirit rover .)