Cassini's closest flyby of Mimas on August 2nd revealed it to be one of the most heavily cratered Saturnian moons, with variations in color across its surface but little if any evidence for internal activity.
Dear Cassini team, first of all, sorry for my bad English. I have 4 questions about Saturn's ring:
1. How old is Saturn's ring? we know that it is formed probably 4 billion years ago, the same time as Saturn's formation, but the ring as we know now (the flat one), when does it formed?
2. Is Saturn's ring relatively stable (shepherd moons help stabilizing it?) or still actively changing and unpredictable?
3. Is it correct to say that Saturn's ring is the nebula for the formation of the Saturnian moons (Mimas, Enceladus)? Couple of months ago, a lump of thick material was observed in the edge of the ring. Where is that lump now? Is it still exist?
4. Among scientists and astronomers, which theory is the most favored about the ring formation? Is it from Saturn's nebula or from a destroyed Moon.
Many thanks for the beautiful updates!
I too feel like I'm there. And in a sense we are through Cassini which was only about 93,000 km from Dione at the time (less than 1/4 of the distance between the Earth and our Moon). By the way, the moon emerging from behind is Mimas (over 610,000 km away from Cassini). In raw image #3, Mimas is just going behind Dione. South is up.
At the middle of this image there's an impact basin, I suppose. It's looking rather degraded. It has got 2 rings and a central peak, I suppose. It's looking similar to the Odysseus Basin on Tethys and less similar to the Herschel Crater on Mimas, I suppose.
At my first glance I didn't notice it and this image looked more boring.
The Herschel Crater seen in profile to the bottom left paking that part of Mimas appear flat is interesting. I think the summit of the central peak can just about be seen, suggesting to me that the central mountain is taller then the rim. Also the terrain far to rhw east has not been very seen very well, so this is an interesting observation to help understand that area well.