Hints of the curving linear grooves that crisscross bright, icy Enceladus are just discernible in this image captured by the Cassini spacecraft. Enceladus is almost entirely composed of water ice and has a surface as bright as snow. Its diameter is 499 kilometers (310 miles).
This view shows principally the leading hemisphere of Enceladus. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Nov. 1, 2004, at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 108 degrees. North is up. The image scale is about 11 kilometers (7 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of two and contrast enhanced to aid visibility of surface features.
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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute