Cassini Captures Swiss-Cheese Look of Saturn Moon

Apr 28, 2005
Cassini Captures Swiss-Cheese Look of Saturn Moon

An image of Saturn's small moon, Epimetheus (epp-ee-MEE-thee-uss), was captured by the Cassini spacecraft in the closest view ever taken of the pockmarked body.

Image: The color of Epimetheus in this view appears to vary in a non-uniform way across the different facets of the moon's irregular surface.

Epimetheus is irregularly shaped and dotted with soft-edged craters. The many large, softened craters on Epimetheus indicate a surface that is several billion years old. The moon shares an orbit with another of Saturn's small moons, Janus. The two dance in a planetary tango as they move in almost identical orbits, exchanging orbits every four years, instead of colliding. Both play a role in creating intricate waves in Saturn's rings; both have densities significantly lower than that of solid ice, suggesting they may be "rubble piles" held together by gravity. At 116 kilometers (72 miles) across, Epimetheus is slightly smaller than Janus at 181 kilometers (113 miles) across. Spectra of Epimetheus from the Cassini visual infrared mapping spectrometer indicate that the moon is mostly water ice.

The images for this false color composite were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 30, 2005, at a distance of approximately 74,600 kilometers (46,350 miles) from Epimetheus.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Fermi finds a 'transformer' pulsar

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Janus from afar

Jan 13, 2014

Cassini's narrow angle camera captures Saturn's tiny irregular moon Janus surrounded by the vast, dark expanse of the outer solar system.

Image: Closest Dione flyby

Jan 23, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Flying past Saturn's moon Dione, Cassini captured this view which includes two smaller moons, Epimetheus and Prometheus, near the planet's rings.

Portraits of moons captured by Cassini

Dec 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its closest-ever pass over Saturn's moon Dione on Monday, Dec. 12, slaloming its way through the Saturn system on its way to tomorrow's close ...

Recommended for you

Fermi finds a 'transformer' pulsar

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —In late June 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed. The pulsar's radio beacon vanished, while at ...

New launch date set for ISS delivery vessel

12 hours ago

A robot ship will be launched from Kourou, French Guiana, after a five-day delay on July 29 to deliver provisions to the International Space Station, space transport firm Arianespace said Tuesday.

The heart of an astronaut, five years on

14 hours ago

The heart of an astronaut is a much-studied thing. Scientists have analyzed its blood flow, rhythms, atrophy and, through journal studies, even matters of the heart. But for the first time, researchers are ...

User comments : 0