I saw a news article once that discussed having Cassini use gravity assists to crash land on Mercury to end it's life. Is this even possible, and is there a chance that this could actually happen? Or is it just a space.com crazy article with no basis in reality?
Just to give a few relevant quotes:
Should Cassini be directed back toward the inner solar system it is likely her final port of call would be Jupiter, Mitchell explained, "One possibility is to escape Saturn and then most likely put the spacecraft on an impacting trajectory with Jupiter. This appears to be feasible, but the flight times get to be rather long."
Cassini's leisurely final journey need not end at Jupiter; rather the giant planet's gravity could fling Cassini into position for an impact on Mercury. Such an impact would provide valuable data on the composition of Mercury's surface and could feasibly occur around 2021 to be observed by the BepiColombo spacecraft.