Image: Two moons passing in the night

August 1, 2013
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

(Phys.org) —The Saturn moons Mimas and Pandora remind us of how different they are when they appear together, as in this image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Pandora's small size means that it lacks sufficient gravity to pull itself into a round shape like its larger sibling, Mimas. Researchers believe that the elongated shape of Pandora (50 miles, or 81 kilometers across) may hold clues to how it and other moons near Saturn's rings formed.

This view looks toward the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Mimas (246 miles, or 396 kilometers across). North on Mimas is up and rotated 28 degrees to the right. The image was taken in blue light with Cassini's narrow-angle camera on May 14, 2013. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 690,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Mimas. Image scale is 4 miles (7 kilometers) per pixel. Pandora was at a distance of 731,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) when this image was taken. Image scale on Pandora is 4 miles (7 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Explore further: Cassini sends back postcards of Saturn moons

Related Stories

Cassini presents Saturn moon quintet

September 19, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- With the artistry of a magazine cover shoot, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this portrait of five of Saturn's moons poised along the planet's rings.

Space Image: Welcome disruption

January 16, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- The line of Saturn's rings disrupts the Cassini spacecraft's view of the moons Tethys and Titan.

Space image: Dione flyby

January 24, 2012

Saturn's moon Mimas peeks out from behind the night side of the larger moon Dione in this Cassini image captured during the spacecraft's Dec. 12, 2011, flyby of Dione.

Space Image: Beside a giant

February 29, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn's largest moon, Titan, looks small here, pictured to the right of the gas giant in this Cassini spacecraft view.

Image: Saturn's moons

July 30, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The Cassini spacecraft watches a pair of Saturn's moons, showing the hazy orb of giant Titan beyond smaller Tethys. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing sides of Titan (3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers across) ...

Recommended for you

Astronomers detect the farthest galaxy yet with Keck telescope

September 4, 2015

A team of Caltech researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical ...

"Hedgehog" robots hop, tumble in microgravity

September 4, 2015

Hopping, tumbling and flipping over are not typical maneuvers you would expect from a spacecraft exploring other worlds. Traditional Mars rovers, for example, roll around on wheels, and they can't operate upside-down. But ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2013
Pandora had better watch out, Mimas seems to be turning it's death ray towards it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.