Popular Science

April 17, 2012

Cassini Flies Right By Saturn’s Moon Enceladus, Snapping New Up-Close Pics

Share

The Cassini spacecraft has been busy over this past week, making close flybys of both Enceladus and and Tethys, two of Saturn’s moons. And we’re not using “close” as a relative term here. Cassini skimmed Enceladus in such proximity that it was literally able to taste the plume of water ice, vapor, and other organic compounds spewing from the moon’s south polar region.

That flyby was at an altitude of just 46 miles above Enceladus’s surface, a hair’s breadth as these sorts of things go. Unfortunately for us, Baghdad Sulcus–the fracture from which said plume emanates–is in darkness for this flyover, but Cassini was able to snap various high-res surface shots of the moon as it passed back into daylight.

For its Tethys encounter, Cassini took a bit more conservative approach, passing about 5,700 miles above the moon’s surface. It was the first imaging expedition to Tethys since 2005, when Cassini captured imagery from its Saturn-facing side. This time Cassini snapped views of Tethys’s other side, which should provide researchers with enough data to start building decent digital elevation maps of Tethys’s surface.


[JPL]

Share





 
 

 
 

‘Star Trek 3′ News: William Shatner to Appear in Film – Christian Post

Youtube Screenshot/ file William Shatner Since the first “Star Trek” reboot, fans have been hoping that some of the original cast members of “Star Trek” would be featured in the new films. Many were thri...
by Geek Staff
0

 
 
 

Star Trek’s sci-fi technologies: how close are they to becoming science fact? – Mirror.co.uk

Australian researchers have this week created a small-scale ‘tractor beam’ that can move tiny particles over a distance of 20cm in the lab. It’s not quite on the scale of the Star Trek Enterprise’s tract...
by Geek Staff
0

 
 
 

5 Plot Holes You Never Noticed In ‘Star Wars’ – Huffington Post

May the forced plots be with you. Unless you actually grew up in a galaxy far, far away, you know what the deal is with “Star Wars.” George Lucas originally created three movies in the ’70s and ’80s, and...
by Brian Montgomery
0