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: Thermonuclear supernova ejects our galaxy's fastest star (w/ video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pleurobot is salamander-like robot with lifelike motion

9 hours ago

A video showing "multimodal locomotion in a bioinspired robot" has been making the rounds, and the video demonstrates advances in robotics as scientific tools as well as potential robots for search and rescue ...

Recommended for you

THEMIS camera helps NASA pick site for next Mars lander

1 hour ago

NASA's next Mars space probe, a lander named InSight, is due to touch down on the Red Planet in September 2016 with a mission focused on the planet's internal properties. Its landing place has been chosen ...

User comments : 0

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.