The trailing hemisphere of Saturn’s moon Rhea seen here in natural color, displays bright, wispy terrain that is similar in appearance to that of Dione, another one of Saturn’s moon. At this distance however, the exact nature of these wispy features remains tantalizingly out of the reach of Cassini’s cameras.
At this resolution, the wispy terrain on Rhea looks like a thin coating painted onto the moon’s surface. Cassini images from December 2004 (see http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06163) revealed that, when seen at moderate resolution, Dione’s wispy terrain is comprised of many long, narrow and braided fractures.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Jan. 16, 2005, at a distance of approximately 496,500 kilometers (308,600 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 35 degrees. Resolution in the original image was about 3 kilometers (2 miles) per pixel. The image has been rotated so that north on Rhea is up. Contrast was enhanced and the image was magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.
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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . For images visit the Cassini imaging team home page http://ciclops.org .
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute