NASA's coverage of the Cassini spacecraft's Grand Finale at Saturn has snagged an Emmy nomination.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has nominated NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for an Emmy in the Outstanding Original Interactive Program category for the way it communicated and publicized Cassini's spectacular "Grand Finale" at Saturn. On Sept. 15, 2017, after almost 20 years in space and 13 years in the Saturn system, the Cassini orbiter began plummeting toward the planet in an epic, final dive.
Cassini's ending dive took the spacecraft between the planet and its rings. Live footage showed Cassini's plunge into the planet's atmosphere, and the spacecraft continued to send data back to Earth until its last moments. [Cassini's 'Grand Finale' at Saturn: NASA's Plan in Pictures]
Aside from live coverage, JPL staff communicated the magnitude of this journey in an expansive campaign. They brought the public on Cassini's journey using posts and live videos on social media platforms; the mission's website; television broadcasts; 360-degree videos (including NASA's first 360-degree livestream of a mission event inside JPL mission control); education and press materials; illustrations and artistic renderings of the plunge; a short film that showcased the drama and history of the mission; and real-time tracking of every last moment of Cassini's journey.
This extensive coverage and the unparalleled images from Cassini's journey led to this surprising nomination: NASA mission coverage isn't typically first in line for awards like this, but Cassini brought Saturn to Earth in an unprecedented way. The mission highlighted Saturn's beauty and revealed details about the origin and composition of the planet, its rings and its 60 moons.