Back-in-Action Cassini Doesn’t Disappoint

by Nancy Atkinson on December 2, 2010

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Enceladus and Dione line up for the Cassini camera. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Here are a few raw images from the Cassini spacecraft’s most recent flyby of Enceladus. The probe seems to be in good health following several weeks in safe mode, after a bit flipped in the command and data subsystem computer. This prevented the spacecraft from registering and following instructions. But she appears to be humming along just fine now, and snapped this great picture of Enceladus and Dione yesterday (have to quote @lukedones on Twitter: “Dione going in the corner pocket!”) Cassini focused on the Enceladus during a close flyby on November 30, so see more below, including a wonderful shot of a veritable curtain of geyser “spray.”

A good look at the spray from the fissures on Enceladus. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Enceladus, backdropped by Saturn's rings. Credit: NASA/JPL/ Space Science Institute.

Closeup of Enceladus. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

An even closer closeup of Enceladus. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

See more raw images at the Cassini website, or the CICLOPS imaging website.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

J. Major December 2, 2010 at 2:33 PM

I AM SO HAPPY to have Cassini BACK! *big grin*

Hlafordlaes December 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM

I am rendered inarticulate in awe of such beauty. Good show, Cassini-chaps!

Jon Hanford December 2, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Cassini also made a close approach to rarely imaged Hyperion in late November, coming within 75000 km. Its battered, crater-saturated surface belies a violent past: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/raw/casJPGFullS65/N00165148.jpg

Kdes December 2, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Wow. They’re all great pictures! I wish I could get that close and personal.

William928 December 2, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Wow again, thanks Cassini! The last picture makes me wonder what it would be like to stand on Enceladus’s surface. It almost makes me feel like I’m there. Keep ‘em coming Cassini.

Piotr December 2, 2010 at 11:38 PM

Good work Cassini. Glad everything back to normal.

nightfly December 3, 2010 at 5:30 AM

Ah, Their’s nothing like the smell of geysers on Enceladus in the morning.

neoguru December 3, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Cassini’s gotta be mankind’s greatest achievement to date. Luvit!

Tramman December 3, 2010 at 9:22 AM

The first shot shows just how BIG these geysers are, compared to the curvature of this little world. Wouldn’t it be an amazing sight if you were standing anywhere near them?

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