During its close flyby of Saturn's moon Mimas on Aug. 2, 2005, Cassini caught a glimpse of Mimas against the broad expanse of Saturn's rings. The Keeler Gap in the outer A ring, in which Cassini spied a never-before-seen small moon (see Wavemaker Moon), is at the upper right.
The ancient, almost asteroid-like surface of Mimas is evident in its crater-upon-crater appearance. Even the material which has slumped down into the bottom of some of its craters bears the marks of later impacts.
This image was taken through the clear filter of the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of 68,000 kilometers (42,500 miles) from Mimas and very near closest approach. The smallest features seen on the moon are about 400 meters wide (440 yards); the Sun-Mimas-Cassini angle is 44 degrees.
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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute