Cassini returns images of battered Saturn Moon

Mar 12, 2013 by Jia-Rui C. Cook
This image was taken on March 10, 2013, and received on Earth March 10, 2013 by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 174,181 miles (280,317 kilometers) away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters. This image has not been validated or calibrated. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

(Phys.org) —Following its last close flyby of Saturn's moon Rhea, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured these raw, unprocessed images of the battered icy moon. They show an ancient, cratered surface bearing the scars of collisions with many space rocks. Scientists are still trying to understand some of the curious features they see in these Rhea images, including a curving, narrow fracture or a graben, which is a block of ground lower than its surroundings and bordered by cliffs on either side. This feature looks remarkably recent, cutting most of the craters it crosses, with only a few small craters superimposed.

Cassini flew by Rhea at an altitude of 620 miles (997 kilometers) on March 9, 2013. This flyby was designed primarily for the radio science sub-system to measure Rhea's . During closest approach and while the radio science sub-system was measuring the icy satellite's gravity field, the imaging team rode along and captured 12 images of Rhea's rough and icy surface. Outbound from Rhea, Cassini's cameras captured a set of global images from a distance of about 167,000 miles (269,000 kilometers).

This image was taken on March 09, 2013, and received on Earth March 10, 2013, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 1,727 miles (2,779 kilometers) away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Data from Cassini's cosmic dust analyzer were also collected to try to detect any dusty debris flying off the surface from tiny meteoroid bombardments. These data will help scientists understand the rate at which "foreign" objects are raining into the .

This image was taken on March 09, 2013, and received on Earth March 10, 2013, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 2,348 miles (3,778 kilometers) away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This was the mission's fourth close encounter with Rhea. The spacecraft will pass the moon, but at a much greater distance, in a few years.

Explore further: NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP Satellite team ward off recent space debris threat

Related Stories

Cassini makes last close flyby of Saturnian moon Rhea

Mar 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be swooping close to Saturn's moon Rhea on Saturday, March 9, the last close flyby of Rhea in Cassini's mission. The primary purpose will be to probe the internal ...

Cassini captures new images of icy moon Rhea

Mar 12, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- These raw, unprocessed images of Saturn's second largest moon, Rhea, were taken on March 10, 2012, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. This was a relatively distant flyby with a close-approach distance ...

Cassini captures Rhea coming down

Jan 13, 2011

Raw images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft from the closest flyby of Saturn's moon Rhea have begun streaming to Cassini's raw image page.

Cassini to probe Rhea for clues to Saturn rings

Jan 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn's icy moon Rhea might seem a strange place to look for clues to understanding the vast majestic rings encircling Saturn. But that's what NASA's Cassini spacecraft plans to do on its ...

Cassini completes Rhea flyby

Jan 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed its closest flyby of Saturn's moon Rhea, returning raw images of the icy moon's surface.

Cassini, Saturn Moon Photographer

May 03, 2012

NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully flew by Saturn's moons Enceladus and Dione during close flybys on May 2, 2012, capturing these raw images. The flybys were the last close encounters of these icy moons ...

Recommended for you

'Twisted rope' clue to dangerous solar storms

13 hours ago

A "twisted rope" of magnetically-charged energy precedes solar storms that have the potential to damage satellites and electricity grids, French scientists said on Wednesday.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

baudrunner
5 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2013
We need to launch more of those HiRISE cameras like the one on the Mars reconnaissance orbiter to image the surfaces of all of our solar system's moons more completely and in greater detail. It is the next best thing to being there.
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2013
We need to launch more of those HiRISE cameras like the one on the Mars reconnaissance orbiter to image the surfaces of all of our solar system's moons more completely and in greater detail. It is the next best thing to being there.


I agree with you, but thinking about it, it is probably BETTER to have robots there than humans being there at this point in our space capabilities. Robots can stay longer, weigh less, take pictures of more area, and try things they would not do with humans. We can also launch 15 robots for every human (dollars). I like the idea of humans being there, but I like the idea of swarms of robots being there first. I am completely with you on the idea of more of these probes, but I am not in a hurry to tie up a lot of money on human travel yet.
ValeriaT
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2013
The Cassini is probably most successful cosmic mission ever (as measured with volume of spaceporn obtained per total cost of project).