This Cassini image of Saturn's moon Enceladus shows a region containing bizarre, wrinkled terrain. Enceladus is covered with bright water ice. The part of its surface visible here appears to be largely free of craters -- indicating that it is geologically young.
The first close imaging of this moon will be done by Cassini in February 2005 and should reveal many surprises. Enceladus has a diameter of 499 kilometers (310 miles).
This view shows primarily the leading hemisphere of Enceladus. The image has been rotated so that north on Enceladus is up.
The image was acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Jan. 15, 2005, at a distance of approximately 367,000 kilometers (228,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 74 degrees. A combination of spectral filters sensitive to infrared and polarized light was used to obtain this view. Resolution in the original image was about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) per pixel. The image has been contrast-enhanced and magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.
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