Moon Over Cassini
I haven’t done a space probe imagery entry here for a while, and Cassini has become one of my favorites, so here goes.
The forth space probe to visit Saturn, Cassini–Huygens (later renamed simply “Cassini” after Huygens took the plunge) seems to repeatedly astonish us with detailed images. I just noticed today in the RSS feed from Space.com (found further down on this page, along the sidebar) that NASA just released some new Saturn moon photos, including a new image of my favorite, Enceladus, overlooking one of that moon’s famous water-ice geysers from above. There is another image of Enceladus in this batch as well.
NASA launched Cassini-Huygens (the Cassini portion named after astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who did quite a bit of notable science regarding Saturn and it’s rings and moons) on October 15, 1997. The mission of Cassini has since been extended twice until now they plan to continue it into 2017. It’s little wonder. Giovanni would be proud.
This one of Penelope crater on Tethys, one of the moons discovered by Seneor Cassini, reminds me of the closeup that Cassini took of Mimas earlier this year. I sent that shot of Mimas to my illustrator, Chelsea Conlin, to use in painting the image of Mimas that appears on the back cover of my book. This one of Tethys seems even more detailed, and aside from the data flaws on the right hand side, almost makes you think you are there.
In closing, here is the latest of many cool shots taken by Cassini of the moon Dione over the years, but I think this wiki link has some much better ones.
Thank you, Cassini—both of you. Take a bow. :-)