Reshaping the Craters

August 12, 2008
PIA NumberPIA10445
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Craters on Enceladus tend to be modified by a couple of different processes that are visible in this view.

Most crater rims on this icy surface appear to have softened, or "relaxed," shapes compared to the initial, sharp edges they likely possessed when first formed by impacts. Additionally, systems of tectonic folds and fractures cut through craters, like those at top center, repaving the more ancient, cratered surface.

One of the largest of these systems is Samarkand Sulci, which stretches from lower right toward upper left in this view.

The view looks toward terrain near the north pole of Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across) from 48 degrees above the moon's equator. Lit terrain seen here is on the moon's Saturn-facing side. North is up and rotated 16 degrees to the left.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 30, 2008 using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of polarized green light centered at 617 and 568 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 161,000 kilometers (100,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 85 degrees. Image scale is 962 meters (0.6 mile) per pixel.

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 . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute