Mimas: Closer Than Ever Before

PIA NumberPIA06255
  • english

This map of the surface of Saturn's moon Mimas illustrates the regions that were imaged by Cassini during the spacecraft's flyby of the moon on Aug. 2, 2005. At closest approach, the spacecraft passed within approximately 62,900 kilometers (39,300 miles) above the moon's surface. Mimas is 398 kilometers (247 miles) across.

The colored lines delineate the regions that were imaged at differing resolutions. The closest images were obtained near closest approach. Mimas has never been imaged this closely before.

The flyby provided the best views yet of the south pole of Mimas and some of its northern latitudes, as well as distant views of the giant crater Herschel, near the terminator (the boundary between day and night).

The highest resolution images show the trailing hemisphere of Mimas, opposite Herschel. Several fracture systems have been seen in the region in NASA Voyager images, like Pelion Chasma and Tintagil Chasma. Images obtained from this Cassini encounter may help test whether these canyons, and others on Mimas' surface, are related to the formation of Herschel. Craters seen on this pass are named after prominent characters in the King Arthur legend: Arthur, Merlin, Uther, Modred and Morgan.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute