On February 13, 2010, Cassini flew by Saturn’s moon Mimas, coming as close as 9,500 km.
It passed directly over Herschel, a giant crater whose creation almost shattered the moon … and which, in its appearance in some earlier images, earned Mimas the nickname “Death Star”, after the iconic Star Wars prop.
The Cassini team has just released some “Raw Previews” of Cassini’s close encounter; time to feast your eyes.
The Cassini Equinox Mission, of which the Mimas flyby is but a small part, is a joint United States and European endeavor. 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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Source: CICLOPS (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations)