This map of Saturn's moon Dione, generated from Cassini images taken during the spacecraft's first two orbits of Saturn, illustrates the imaging coverage planned during Cassini's first Dione flyby on Dec. 14, 2004.
Colored lines enclose regions that will be covered at different imaging scales as Cassini approaches Dione.
Cassini will zoom past Dione at a distance of approximately 81,400 kilometers (50,600 miles) during this flyby. An even closer encounter with Dione is in store for Cassini in October 2005, when the spacecraft is slated to fly past the icy moon at a mere 500 kilometers (311 miles).
Images from this week's flyby will be superior in resolution to those obtained by NASA's Voyager 1 in November 1980. Voyager 1 passed Dione at a distance of 161,520 kilometers (100,364 miles) at closest approach, yielding a best resolution of approximately 1 kilometer per pixel. The area to be imaged at highest resolution by Cassini during this upcoming flyby will be centered on the bright, wispy terrain on Dione's trailing hemisphere, marked by the red outline on this map. The resolution of Cassini images in this region will be 500 meters per pixel and better.
The map was created by images acquired in visible light using the Cassini narrow angle camera. The highest southern latitudes on Dione have not yet been seen by Cassini, resulting in the map's lower limit of approximately 80 degrees south latitude.
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 Cassini-Huygens 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org .
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute