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Cassini's new image of Saturn's moon Enceladus shows fractures and furrows on its icy surface

May 23, 2017 11:44 AM
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Cassini's new image of Saturn's moon Enceladus shows fractures and furrows on its icy surface

The Cassini spacecraft captured the image at a distance of approximately 168,000 kms from Enceladus.

An image of Saturn's sixth-largest moon Enceladus has been released by NASA. The image shows a slim crescent of sunlight falling on the moon, highlighting fractures and furrows on its icy surface.

The picture was captured by the Cassini spacecraft at a distance of approximately 168,000 kms from Enceladus with its narrow-angle camera on December 26, 2016. It portrays a view that looks towards the Saturn-facing hemisphere of moon. And, the crescent formed is dimly illuminated by a low angle of sunlight reflected off Saturn.

Cassini, a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency is slated to retire this year by plunging into the Saturn's thick atmosphere sometime during September.

The orbiter has observed and transmitted some path breaking data, including the recent discovery of Enceladus' discovery of possible hydrothermal activity on its sub-surface ocean floor indicating a potential oasis of habitability. It has also captured other moons of Saturn including the mammoth Titan and the saucer shaped Atlas.

Before its final plunge, Cassini is on its way to complete its "grand finale" phase of its mission — a series of 22 orbitals between Saturn's cloud. Last month it managed to capture shots from deep inside Saturn's rings, a territory where no space cam or craft has venture into before.

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

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