To me, the lighter parts are rather reminiscent of what we Brits refer to as 'buttered crumpet' (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crumpet). The darker parts are like an extremely airy chocolate mousse! John: 'love' seems too strong an emotion for me in relation to a frigid lump of tumbling dirty slush, but I definitely regard this as the Solar System's most mouth-watering natural satellite! Despite the huge number of impacts, the surface around the craters seems surprisingly smooth (almost clay-like in the darker regions). Hence my comparison with chocolate. And the surface material is clearly of low density. Ciclops boffins: What are the current theories on the origin and composition of this tasty little morsel?
Even though my head is cosmic, I'm having difficulty getting it around this image: what are those white diagonal striations (resembling asbestos fibres) and how come they are almost perpendicular to the shadows?
A stunning image. My first thought on seeing it: "How Stanley Kubrick would have loved it!" The droids who are cutting your mission budget must have faulty CPU's. You should be given a blank cheque for providing humankind with such amazing service. If I were a rich man, I would blow it all on you!
The 'mosaic of light and dark' (PIA 11997) is majestic and humbling. This star child can only gaze in silent awe, profoundly thankful to have been born on this unique planet, in this unique era, with such talented experts working for his delight. Space is big ... very big. If only my screen were, too!
An extraordinary and dramatic image - congratulations to the imaging team! It is indeed hard to think of an explanation other than that of an object in an inclined orbit punching through the ring system. Have objects in such strongly inclined orbits previously been identified? How are we to account for the inclination: are such objects of extraneous origin, captured by Saturn's gravitational field?
In my humble opinion, this is the most spectacular image ever returned by any spacecraft, manned or otherwise. I must be dreaming! To Carolyn and all others working on the Cassini mission: you have boldly gazed where no one has gazed before. Humanity will be eternally indebted to you.
How fortunate we are to be intelligent, sentient beings living in an era of robotic space exploration capable of delivering such stirring images! One can only wonder how many of the sentient beings produced by this universe have already been or will ever be so privileged. And will future generations of earthlings go on to find such views commonplace, or is this a unique opportunity, never to be repeated in the future history of humanity?
I first saw Saturn's disc and rings way back in 1973, as a 15-year-old English schoolboy peering excitedly through a 6" reflecting telescope. I never thought I would live to see such an astonishing image of this most majestic of the outer planets, from such a unique vantage point. Thanks, Cassini imaging team: this is the ultimate trip!