Categories: MissionsSaturn

Cassini Survives Close Encounter of the Death Star Kind!

[/caption]
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.

35,000 km-distant Herschel, from Cassini (unprocessed image; credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

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.
Herschel, from 16,000 km above (unprocessed image; credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

Source: CICLOPS (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations)

Jean Tate

Hi! When I was only six (or so), I went out one clear but windy night with my uncle and peered through the eyepiece of his home-made 6" Newtonian reflector. The dazzling, shimmering, perfect globe-and-ring of Saturn entranced me, and I was hooked on astronomy, for life. Today I'm a freelance writer, and began writing for Universe Today in late 2009. Like Tammy, I do like my coffee, European strength please. Contact me: JeanTate.UT@gmail.com

Recent Posts

Most Black Holes Spin Rapidly. This one… Doesn’t

A Chandra X-ray Observatory view of the supermassive black hole at the heart of quasar…

2 hours ago

Tidal Heating Could Make Exomoons Much More Habitable (and Detectable)

A new study shows how the study of tidal heating in exomoons could greatly expand…

3 hours ago

Red Supergiant Stars Bubble and Froth so Much That Their Position in the Sky Seems to Dance Around

Making a 3D map of our galaxy would be easier if some stars behaved long…

4 hours ago

This is How You Get Multiple Star Systems

Stars form inside massive clouds of gas and dust called molecular clouds. The Nebular Hypothesis…

6 hours ago

The Case is Building That Colliding Neutron Stars Create Magnetars

Magnetars are some of the most fascinating astronomical objects. One teaspoon of the stuff they…

13 hours ago

A Dying Star’s Last Act was to Destroy all Its Planets

When white dwarfs go wild, their planets suffer through the resulting chaos. The evidence shows…

1 day ago