It's looking completely different from what I expected.
Even more surprising its ridge looks smoother than the rest of its surface although it looks like being connected all the way round to its main body.
One of the most beautiful color images of Saturn of the mission. It's showing a lot of details in the planet's atmosphere. There are orangish hues in the northern hemisphere and a kind of darker belt within that area.
Greetings from the Dragon
There's an interesting tectonic feature running from the top to the bottom. There's a second one, more subdued, that is right to it but then it's curved at the lower right, making it look rather like the right rim of a degraded crater with no left rim anymore , I suppose.
At the bright crater that is at the middle of this image approximately there is a special feature. It's 2 parallel-running cracks ( at least looking like such ones. ) . They are to the upper right of this crater. They could have been caused by a small landslide of the crater's ejecta, I suppose.
The shape of this moonlet is a great surprise for me. Even after the surprises with Prometheus, Calypso and Helene I didn't expect it to be shaped almost perfectly like an egg ( taking as a fact that its shape is the same one in the small darkened area what I suppose to be like the lit one very probably ) . It is only 2 miles across.
Undoubtfully one of the best color images of the mission. Congratulations !
Looking to me far more like an orange giant planet ( not Saturn ) ( not Jupiter ) with a blue ring , but the ring being far too thick. The 'ring' has got a 'gap' at the right of the image where the color is more orangish letting the 'planet' shine thru.
Of course my scientific point of view says that this is not the case. It's Titan, the large orange moon of Saturn. I suppose that at the right the more orangish part within the blue haze is where the bluish haze is thinner letting shine thru the orange one partially.
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.
At my first glance at its small version I thought it were a view of a Rhean rift valley similar to a Dionean rift valley shown on "Dione "Rev 129" Flyby Raw Preview #3" labelled 04/08/2010 which shows a very interesting Dionean surface at very high resolution ( rotate the Dionean view by 180 degrees then it makes more sense. ) But at its full version I remarked rapidly that it's only a view of a Rhean crater looking somewhat like a rift valley at first glance because of foreshortening.
It's still interesting because it's showing a lot of details at the crater wall and it has got a very high resolution.
I think it's the same medium-sized deep crater that is in the middle of the image "Rhea 'Rev 143' Raw Preview '3" .
Mercury_3488: The closest approach distances will be 53 000 ml/85 000 km to Daphnis, 72000 ml/116 000 km to Pan, 68 000 ml/109 000 km to Pandora and 62 000 ml/100 000 km to Dione. All those flybys will happen on Dec. 20, 2010, Spacecraft Event Time.
The Cassini spacecraft resumed normal operations on Nov. 24, as planned !
Then, there will be a Hyperion flyby at 44 500 miles approx. on 11/28 and
a very important Enceladus flyby on 11/30 at only 50 km/31 miles.
NeKto, ijusth: I found the answer on the Cassini Mission main page.
When I searched on this page for 'E ring' I got many results, the interesting one is the 3rd one of 'News' :Home > News & Features > Cassini Science League > 'How a Celestial Snowblower Runs a Ring Around Saturn'. ( Published on March 23, 2010 )
( Type E ring followed by the enter key into the search window even if the page may indicate 'no results found' before pressing the enter key. )
The particles of Enceladus' jets are falling on Enc or making it into the E ring. Those ones in the E ring are falling back on Enc within one or two orbits or falling back on Enc after a much longer stay in the ring, but estimated not to be for more than 400 years. Some very few make it from the E ring into the magnetosphere. But material from impact cratering in the present on Enceladus is more than the particles lost to the magnetosphere I think. Thus Enceladus doesn't shrink. Enceladus is getting also material from micrometeorites.
(Even if scientists say that Tethys is brighter than Dione because it's getting material from the E ring, too, I think that the material from impacts and from micrometeorites on Enc is enough that Enceladus doesn't shrink although giving some material to Tethys. )
NeKto: This question has been answered by carolyn in 2009 already, the jets produce a thrust that is only miniscule.
In this view there are a lot of interesting hill ranges between the middle and the left at the terminator. At the upper right there is older, cratered terrain, but also showing that Enceladus modified those craters. The younger terrain has got a sharp transition at the upper right to the older terrain which is remarkable.
All of the 02/23 Enceladus images are interesting or very interesting ! The most interesting ones by my opinion are "Context for Baghdad Sulcus Mosaic" , "Enceladus' Warm Baghdad Sulcus" , "Enceladan Tectonics" and "New to Old on Enceladus" . "Enceladan Tectonics" and "New to Old on Enceladus" make me almost feel like flying by myself over Enceladus.
"New and Old on Enceladus" fulfills my dreams of seeing an alien surface with a lot of details full of tectonic activity and very different from Earth's surface.
And there is a wide range of landforms.
This remarkable mosaic has a feeling of 'almost being there' that I didn't have at the best 11/2009 Enc images not mosaicked together.
This 5910 miles Mimas flyby will include imaging of the Herschel crater ( or Herschel Basin ) at high resolution ( 87 mpp ) !
It's for the first time the Cassini Spacecraft will do this at Mimas.
Finally an "almost close" Mimas flyby at only 9510 km/5910 mls -- With expected top resolutions of 87 meters per pixel. About 7 times closer and better resolution than the roughly 62 000 km Mimas flyby of 2005 which was the closest up to now ( "Flying Over Mimas" ) !
Thank you ultomatt for writing about the Feb. 17 Mimas flyby. For me, it's interesting to get images of Herschel crater at higher resolution,too. In the actual list of the 2010 tour dates they rescheduled it to the 13th of Feb. , 2010. Shortly after the last one of the 2 very interesting 2009 Enc Nov. flybys there was a flyby of Rhea not listed as a "close" one, but nevertheless having enabled new looks of Rhea. ( with tectonic features similar to Dione ) This perhaps means that at Mimas this will be possible without a close flyby. That Rhea flyby was at 24000km, 15000 mls.
Thank you for writing here of those flybys: Rhea Mar. 2nd and Dione April 6th.
At the Equinox Mission there aren't planned any close flybys of Tethys. But I think that imaging of the remarkably large Odysseus basin ( not only being a 'crater' ) at many better resolution than the best images of it by the Cassini spacecraft available at this moment would be very interesting.
After looking at the actual list of the 2010 tour dates I found those flybys among other ones: On Jan. 10 at Methone at 27000 km, 17000 mls, On Feb. 13 at Mimas at 10000 km, 6000 mls ( as mentioned ) and on June 3 at Tethys, 53000 km, 33000 mls. Perhaps that Tethys flyby will include almost Cassini-class Hi-Res images of the Odysseus basin.
('After more looks it looks' , not 'it's' . Sorry for that.)
Wow ! That's very interesting !
Rhea looking through the hazes of Titan --( first looking to me as if it's a feature of Titan within the atmosphere looking alien and like from a science-fiction movie.
Then looking like a smaller moon without an atmosphere, but why 'in' Titan's atmosphere ? After more looks it's looks to me first that the smaller moon is 'attached' to that position in the atmosphere and then like a rounded, remarkably high mountain of Titan. )
To me, it doesn't look like Rhea being behind Titan.
Beautiful and great image ! Taken some months after equinox only, there is at this moment no fall/winter hemisphere having bluish hues. The colors of the northern and the southern Saturnian latitudes are very similar. It's showing Saturn's colors around equinox very well.
HenryBrooks: My idea is that tidal heating is part of the energy source but because of Enc's rather high density for an icy satellite ( 1.6 kg/m³ ) there have to be unknown energy sources in its interior, I suppose.
HenryBrooks: Just my idea: Here similarities exist. ( Some older Enc images show more similarities than here to Europa. ) I noticed them,too. In this image there are no ice rafts, I suppose.
The energy source of the activity of Enceladus visible here is tidal heating and other kinds of heating being unknown today, no impact processes.
Here there's Enceladan activity everywhere. There are no impact craters of notable sizes. ( I couldn't examine the right part with poorer image quality. )
It's still far too early to decide for sure what kind of landscape is on N00146728. I suppose ranges at the left, not 'surely there they are'.
I don't mean by 'mountain ranges' the more common features I've seen on the 30 or so of the raw images, when those were very new. I mean a kind of surface looking very complicated that I found on only a few of the 30 or so raw images. ( None of these has been posted here up to now because I suppose it's hard to look at them ( is this a valley or a mountain range ? ) and the flyby happened very recently. I needed a lot of time understanding them and perhaps some few terrain features I interpreted wrong. None of these was hi-res. )
On one of them, N00146728, there is this new kind of very complicated surface. Especially on the lower half and between the 8 and 9 o'clock position. There are a lot of valleys and at the very left also ( hill ) ranges between the valleys. I think they are of common origin.
( Now there are many more raw images of this flyby. )
Here the most interesting features are valleys ( by tectonic activity ).
'cryovolcanic' , not 'cryocolcanic' . Sorry for that.
A side note: At the 1 and 2'o clock position at the center of this basin there are somewhat interesting features at the inner sides of the mountains making up the inner ring of that basin that are among the brightest features here. Perhaps they have been cryocolcanic flows of viscous, slow-moving ices ? I don't expect them to be young. They happened just after the formation of that basin I suppose.
The resolution of the image doesn't show enough details to be certain. So my idea is uncertain.
Frankypouh: After further examination of the site, I now suppose that the radial features were created without help of the boulders. And that the boulders were a long time at their present positions and didn't roll down that hill. Because the size of the boulders and the width of the 'tracks' don't fit.
Also I saw that the 'tracks' continued to the valley floor generally.
( Sorry for the part of my first explanation I now have corrected. )
Frankypouh: Very good observation ! I can imagine what you mean. It's the feature at the end of this 'valley'. I think it's a hill with a flat summit ( the flat part shaped almost like an egg ) . To the right and upper right ( east and northeast if the top of the image is north ) of this feature there are very large boulders I think ( roughly 25 to 150 meters in size I suppose ) that ( seem to have ) rolled/tumbled down the slope of that hill. They left boulder tracks, I suppose. These are your radial feature. The boulders stopped rolling a bit more than halfway to the next valley floor, I suppose. Given the image's resolution I estimated the 'hill' being roughly 150 to 360 meters high.
Approximately 12 mpp - very high resolution.
( A side note: Here a valley in the middle and at the right has got very large differences of the inclination of its slopes. But I suppose that it's also a rift valley on Enc as we know them from Enc early of the Casini mission. )
Very Interesting image.
Counting the jet sources for the first time I identified 15 of them.
At the upper middle there it's visible that the sulcus is the source of the jets there and that they continue into the night side of Enceladus decidedly.
( This is a new very convincing proof that the jet sources are mainly at the bottom of 'young' , deep sulci. )
Having just looked at those images has been a very exciting moment for me.
Having just looked at the really new raw images of this flyby ( 11/21/'09 ) which are on the Equinox Mission main page ( http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm ) I remarked that all important images of Enceladus' surface have arrived successfully.
I shall write detailed comments as soon as they will be posted here officially.
( But now I want to mention already: Some of the raw images show a region with features being mountain ranges probably that we haven't seen of this kind on Enc previously ). And that the images were far more interesting than I hoped because roughly 1 year ago we had already remarkably interesting Enc images -- so before seeing the 11/21 flyby's ones I supposed they couldn't "beat" the raw ones from last year. ( except the top resolution and the funiscular terrain mainly ))
A very interesting image of Enceladus. The terminator is highlighting the complicated system of ridges and the important deep canyon. Both are indicating a lot of tectonic activity. Also the surroundings of both features are shown. For me this image is almost like a geologic ('enceladologic') map of this area.
(Of course 'of Enceladus' , not 'or Enceladus'. Sorry for that.)
With the sun shining exactly parallel to the ring plane I suppose any feature in the ring system being offset from this plane will appear brighter in this image because being hit by the sun's rays. The ring plane is believed to be only 30 feet thick. So the very bright ring at the left is many thicker than 30 feet. But the fact that it's appearing that bright is strange. ( As bright as if being lit by a neon tube of astronomical dimensions. ) So it could be a ring that is almost pure water ice - like the surface or Enceladus.
The concentric pattern in the middle and at the right could be caused by ( perhaps ) the individual thicknesses of those 'ringlets'.
At the lower right the darker feature could be a moon shadow.
Thank you for your observation, kheider.
Because of your observation I examined all Voyager 2 pictures of the 5 large Uranian satellites for this feature. I believe very much that they are image processing facts -- no real featurs -- because once this feature also is on a picture of Uranus. I found similar features on these pictures: PIA 00039 (Titania), PIA 00140 (Miranda), PIA 00032 (Uranus), PIA 00043 (Miranda) and PIA 01534 (Ariel). On PIA 00043 I found it four times and on PIA 01534 two times. On PIA 00032 only at the false-color picture of Uranus. At PIA 00140 it is cutting inside the limb and dark, so there its reversed. At PIA 00039 it's weaker. I believe so because there can't be cryovolcanic plumes at the edge of Uranus' atmosphere.
But that doesn't mean for me that Ariel is not active in the present. I believe that in the past of these 5 satellites only Umbriel was not active. At the present I believe that Miranda, Ariel, Titania are active. If there were images of a new mission to Uranus or Uranus and Neptune of higher resolution then this would be easier to find out. At Oberon Voyager 2 images have only a low resolution so that I can't believe there something about activity. I believe that Oberon is active at the present because similar in size to Titania which is also active ( at least in the past ).
That's very interesting. It looks indeed ( somewhat ) like woven.
At my first glance it appeared to me that that bright parts not "accepting" the shadow are a bit higher than the "normal" parts of the rings. But after several further examinations of this picture I found very slight darkenings on roughly three quarters of the bright parts of the ring not "accepting" Mimas' shadow. Thus they're not higher than the other parts. But there may still be out-of-plane components in the rings.
Here I'm seeing no new details of the Odysseus Crater ( For me it's more a basin than a crater ) . There was still no close flyby of the Cassini spacecraft taking pictures of 'Cassini class' high resolution of the Odysseus crater. For me I believe very much that the ( my ) results of such images would be interesting. The same kind of being interesting for me would be close-up images of a close Mimas flyby which hasn't been made up to now, too.
But up to now, at least our spacecraft has taken better views of Mimas and better views of the Odysseus crater than the Voyager spacecraft.
This view is 'Voyager class' by my opinion. ( It's not 'Cassini class' as e. g. 'Hi-Res on Tethys'. )
Nevertheless I'm seeing good details on it, mainly: The familiar crater at the left is showing here its depth easily; at the top and the lower left there are ( probably ) 2 parallel-running canyon systems that could be Ithaca Chasma; ( changing the curvature of the moon's limb at the lower left thus they're deep ) and a large crater at the top slightly right to the middle that is looking many more degraded than the familiar left one. The two parallel features ( I think ) are running through the mentioned crater at the top indicating that they're younger than it.
For me it's not a truely new view of Tethys but still of medium interest.
Here I'm seeing the same effect on the shadow as in "Trumpeting the Equinox" , now at Mimas' shadow. This effect is changing the shadow's shape at the F Ring making it not perfectly elliptical. My idea is that there the F Ring is a bit higher ( thicker when seeing at the rings edge-on) changing the shadow's shape - especially at its center where it is at its brightest.
A very interesting view. Meanwhile the rings are ( almost ) golden in color as usual giant Saturn looks greenish being unusual. ( It reminds me on the green of Uranus it was believed to be before the approach of the Voyager 2 spacecraft to it. But after that encounter Uranus's color was found out to be a kind of light blue. ) ( With the rings in familiar colors but Saturn decidedly not it has looked at my first glance almost like a false-color image or like an alien gas giant not in our Solar System. )
The bright icy cliffs are an interesting feature on Rhea. Their steep walls exposed to the Sun are very bright. They remind me on rather similar features on Dione.
And then we're seeing that the largest crater in the lower part of the image has got bright inner walls, too. Two medium-sized craters are on top of one, very long icy feature indicating it's not a geologically very young structure.
Just left to the large impact basin visible here there could be a similar basin of the same size. Below the fully-lit basin there is a structure which looks enigmatic and that has removed craters that had been there before, I suppose. That one may be of internal origin.
Also a fact visible here is that the areas shown ouside the ( two ) very large basins and the enigmatic structure differ by crater density. Thus there was Dionean activity in parts of them that removed old craters( by processes perhaps similar to those ones on Enceladus ).
A remarkable image because it's showing a lot of details although so small ( only 27 Kb as a JPEG ).
In this image we're seeing a lot of hues of Saturn's principal yellow color. In the southern temperate zone ( or belt ) I'm seeing a dark storm system ( Perhaps it could be the 'blue-eyed storm' . ) Northwest to it there is another, bright storm system. In the northern temperate zone I'm seeing two very long cloud bands - I think they could be jet streams.
A small moon but with a very strong influence on the F ring and its surroundings. If Prometheus were not at its place then the inner area adjacent to the F ring would be many more "tidied up" , without those streamers ( streamer channels ).
That's a fantastic image of Saturn ! It was taken from an interesting position of our spacecraft showing Saturn seen thru parts of its rings at the upper right. Here, we`re seeing again many hues of Saturn`s colors as in picture PIA10578, but most of them are different. The blue-eyed storm is special. I think that it is within the "storm alley" at roughly 35 S latitude. On picture 10457 ( 08/28/2008 ) there were 4 large storm systems of similar color at the same southern latitudes. ( If the blue-eyed storm were one of them, then we would draw the conclusion that it lasted for at least half a year. )
By their intelligent ways of observations the Cassini Team was even able to find a tiny moonlet that is only 500 m across ! Once again, Cassini sent us image data that were many better by resolution and by size than the early 80s' Voyagers that had been the last mission to Saturn before Cassini.
Although it's not the first time the Cassini Spacecraft took an image similar to this one it's showing a somewhat new impression of Saturn's colors except the azure blue. Here, Saturn is colorful, but of course less colorful than Jupiter. Also, it's beautiful and showing very many details.
Wow ! That's an amazing and very interesting discovery . And it's awesome, too. That within a few years happened strong changes in Titan's lakes. I think that this happened by precipitation ( I believe by methane/ethane rain, not by methane/ethane snow ) . I don't think that this happened by underground methane/ethane springs although they are also present on Titan.
I suppose either the bluish areas have got lower cloud tops ( so that the uniform haze above them is showing more its blue color ) or the bluish areas are containing clouds with a different chemistry.
There are several large storm systems that generally are rotating clockwise ( I think ) so they are high pressure cells.
The very many smaller systems are stressing the impression that the processes happening there in the atmosphere are very complicated. I think that those ones are both highs and lows. ( lows rotating counter-clockwise )
At the lower right there is a storm system that 'tore' away parts of the yellowish clouds' northern limit into the bluish zone.
This image is a 'snapshot' of Saturnian meteorology.
But there have to be also rising and sinking motions of the ( visible ) atmosphere, if Saturn in that way is similar to Jupiter.
A beautiful picture with many details of the southern hemisphere. Now, close to its equinox, the bluish hues of the northern hemisphere have disappeared almost completely.
The first 6 months of the Extended Mission contained the very close Enceladus Flybys that were very important. One of them was at only 25 km of altitude showing that 4 years after Saturn arrival the Cassini Team is able to maneuvre its spacecraft very precisely indeed. All these important Enc flybys were successful.
In the middle of this mosaic I'm seeing a feature at the southern edge of the 'sulcus' ( graben ) that may have moved a bit in the direction of the following 'ropy' terrain - I think that could be a portion of cryolava that is now frozen but that was at roughly 273-253 K when it erupted. I suppose it erupted at the moment when happened the initial opening of that graben or only a little bit later. Its shape ( probably ) is indicating that it is related to a short part of the graben only.
This mosaic is a very interesting one well done. I'm rating it '12' ( meaning even better than '10' ) because it includes a large number of interesting alien landforms.
Now I think that the surface of the Uranian moon Miranda is not a surface created by catastrophic events but by complicated icy tectonics.
Of course I'm meaning the long ridges visible in this image in my latest comment. Not the Halloween flyby's smaller passive ones ( without icy 'vulcanism' ) formed by compression ( I suppose ) at the south polar 'sulci' ; that are visible in the already famous 'Skeet Shoot' Images of this flyby.
I estimated that the ones of the image 'Over the Limb' are roughly half a mile ( 600 to 1000 m ) high.
Just in this image of Enceladus there are many features of its surface activities. This image is breathtaking and mesmerizing ! It's showing again that the history of Enc's active regions is a very complex one. I calculated/estimated the large canyon at the right being approx. 6 to 7 km wide and approx. 1.5 to 2.5 km deep at its widest point visible here.
Above it there is an area of very complicated interesting features being mostly long cracks, terrains broken into 'plates' and ridges some of them being sinuous. There are also four ridges with strange neatly connections. These ones are running almost linearly and touching themselves by rather right angles ! That is strange - They're geologic features, no buildings by aliens, but they would be too neat for a usual Saturnian moon. But Enc is an unusual one ! ( The same ones are also on an older Enc mosaic by the Cassini Team. )
Some of the ridges in this image have got grabens on their tops but less neatly and less continuedly than the ones on Galileo's Europa Hi-Res images. ( Again ) I'm seeing similarities between Enc, Europa and Ganymed. Those grabens are confirming my older suspection I believe: The ridges on Europa and on Enc are being created by material of the upper mantle oozing through ( often linear ) cracks in the crust. Then creating a linear, icy feature. That is a kind of linear, icy 'vulcanism' not related to a spot like ( very often ) on Earth, Mars and Venus. I believe that on Europa and Enceladus there are also shapes of transition between ridges and rift zones e. g. an Europan ridge with a graben on top.
To create these Enceladan ridges there is needed I think a powerful geologic mechanism, a very active upper mantle and a crust which is not too rigid.
The active features on Enceladus, Europa and Ganymed are ( somewhat ) like rift valleys.
It's amazing that on Earth the mid oceanic rift zones ( sea floor-spreading ) also are owning a graben on their tops.
On Europa, Enceladus and ( a bit less ) on Ganymed it's also striking that newer linear features often have removed the older ones, especially on Enc.
I was very happy unexpectedly getting still a Hi-Res Enc image after the Halloween close flyby because no other close Enc flybys for roughly a year.
My opinion is: The very latest surface history ( by geological terms ) is 'written' on Enc's surface of this picture. The 2008 Halloween flyby identified some of the known jet sources which I think was a difficult work. Congratulations to the Cassini team for these identifications ! Most probable I think the jets erupt from the bottom of young, deep 'sulci' .
Now I think we can already 'read' some of this history from the surface.
And just a few days after this encounter Cassini is speeding to Titan for a very important encounter.
This time the IMAGES with high and very high resolution ( official ones and raw ones ) returned of a Enceladus flyby were greater than from any previous close Enc flyby - but all the other close flybys had also great Enc pictures. When I made a search for the latest Hi-Res Enc Images on the Cassini Mission Main Page ( http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/ ) some hours ago, I found over 200 of them ! But the Image 'Boulder-Strewn Surface NAC View' ( many older ) is very remarkable and a new look, too.
These Hi-Res Images of Enc with its icy, alien surface were GREAT !!!
THAT is exploring new territories ! ( new worlds ! )
Now I think we know too less of the interior of Enc to explain exactly why it has got this surface. I think the crust ( of course icy ) is thin in the south ( roughly 2 km to 250 meters ). Under the crust there is ( probably ) a subsurface ocean of liquid H20 being roughly 273 to 277 K. How deep is this ocean ? I have no idea. Is it global or local ? I just don`t know.
The surface in the south with its 'tiger stripes' ( 'sulci" ) lets me think of the sulci being rather similar to Earth's rift zones but on Enc there are far more ones than on Earth. And I also think that on Enc the activities and the locations of those sulci are shifting very rapidly compared to Earth. Of course the south polar region is geologically very young.
Then I need this subsurface ocean for my theory because I suppose that the outer mantle of Enceladus is this ocean that has got very many convection cells that are driving all the active 'sulci' . So there are plates on Enc and they are moving like at plate tectonics ( more or less ). Often we're seeing compressed ice terrain at the areas adjacent to the most active 'sulci' - that is something like Enceladan mountain formation . perhaps there is happening subduction because the surface mustn't increase in area.
The surface is 95 to 99 percent pure H20 ice. It's very bright. Some few patterns of Enceladan activity remind me a bit of common features at Earth's glaciers.
The inner mantle could be a mixture of ice and rock or water ( ?? ) , ice and rock. The core could be rocky. I think the core is only rock, with no water and no ice. Because the interior of Enc is far hotter than it 'should' be, I believe this moon to be differentiated ( crust, mantle, core ) completely. I think that in the south the crust is thinnest below the large ( active ) 'sulci'. There water or water and ice mixed is penetrating the crust through cracks generating this moon's famous geysers.
Today we have no temperature values at all of Enc's Interior making it even more difficult for me to think how its interior is like - especially how much water there is and if there's life in the upper mantle.
But this is all only guessing. Now we know very few about the interior of Enc. Its density is now believed to be 1.6 g/cm3.
For A New Saturn mission there is needed an unmanned lander ( at least ) for Enceladus. ( of Saturn's moons ) That one shall be like the ( today neither finished nor launched ) Europa orbiter ( lander ) landing on Europa and then melting thru the Europan ice crust and then if there is water it shall continue as a small submarine with a chemical laboratory. Of course it has to transmit its finding to Earth when diving in Europa. Or a Enceladus Rover that could drive/climb around and follow the warmth by its temperature sensors. Then it shall melt thru the thinnest part of the southern Enc crust. If there were water pockets it would find them.
That is now just dreaming.
I wrote a lot but now it's finished.
The activity of Enc compared to Mimas is a mistery.
And Io's activity at Jupiter is also partly misterious because it's explained not completely by tidal heating.
All the latest images of the 2008 Halloween Enc flyby were very interesting !
Yes, 3488 is right -- ice boulders, no rock boulders, because they ( I think that's the reason ) reflect the sunlight very well.
So then, we already know something important. That's that we know it's no rock or rock/ice mixed boulders. But there is still so much to be learned about that Landscape. I think that at least some shapes of it are being made by up-welling of ( 'slushy' ? ) ice immediately after a new rift opened and pulled its sides apart. But the picture is showing a widespread, very complex activity. Several processed, I think, are happening at the same time. It reminded me a bit of the highest resolution picture of Europa taken by the Galileo spacecraft and that image is also on this website. And a bit less reminded me on some Galileo pictures of Ganymede's active regions taken by high resolution.
The most exciting moments for me of the Cassini/Huygens mission were the October 2004 Images of Titan, the first Titan Radar Images showing something like rivers of methane/ethane, the confirmation of the newly-discovered Titanian lakes, the January 2005 landing of Huygens on Titan and the September 2007 Iapetus Flyby ! All these things worked very well -- so that I mustn't complain about losses of important data. All the people involved in this mission prepared and planned it so exactly that all my 'top events' up to the first october 2008 Enceladus flyby were fulfilled completely.
I'm absolutely fascinated by the Possibility Of Life On Enceladus !! There could be liquid water below the surface. Perhaps later some designs of the Europa Orbiter could be Used ( A New Spacecraft to Saturn ) . More Exactly 'Life In Enceladus`.
The largest crater visible here is startingly large, it's about the same size as Hyperion's dimensions. ( At least I believe it to be a crater. ) I think that when that crater was produced Hyperion broke up. Then its fragments got lost from its orbit and one large fragment remained the Hyperion of today. I roughly estimated the size of the old ( icy, spherical ) Hyperion: 600 to 800 km in diameter.
Just this one picture is enough to show us how unusual Enceladus is ! Fractures ( I think they are rift valles ) everywhere.
That Landscape is so different and so unearthy that it could be used without changes for a science-fiction movie serving as a very good slow approach scene of a manned fantasy spacecraft.
The 'tiger stripes' I suppose are constantly changing, the active ones are deeper and wider and the older ones are smaller and more shallow.
There could be a subsurface ocean. Just now nobody knows.
Strange, Strange! A bulging equator marked neatly by a long, very high ridge, two huge impact basins ( one of them with a giant landslide ) , Dark grey like a newly paved street and white like freshly fallen snow and no shades of grey in between - The moon's shape is neither spherical nor bulged normally ( like Saturn ) , it's more like a walnut shape, but with a round equator -- How can all that have been created ( such a concentration of very unusual things ) on the surface of just ONE Saturnian moon ?
Unfortunately it was a long wait for the closed flyby after this flyby at the end of 2004 -- and so we had to wait up to September 2007 for the close Iapetus flyby.
Iapetus was by far the latest one of the 9 'classical' moons of Saturn getting its closed Cassini spacecraft flyby.
What a good luck that Phoebe was so closed to Cassini when the spacecraft approached Saturn - this encounter was before SOI and no other flybys of Phoebe are planned. Even no ones in the Extended Mission. If Phoebe had been at its opposite point of its orbit then this Image would not have been possible. Cassini made a fantastic engineering action obtaining this image with no image smear ! This Image shows that even rather small Phoebe has got a complicated history of its surface, I suppose.
That is Phoebe in full view ! It appears to be a primitive, unmodified body captured by Saturn. Because of its actual orbit. It is ice-rich because it appears bright. But it has got also a coating of darker material. I think it was a Trans-Neptunian Body, an icy 'planetesimal' , before having been captured. It's the smallest Saturnian satellite that is 'mid-sized or large' by my classification.
Wow ! A fine, beautiful view of Saturn's southern hemisphere. Showing many hues of its principal color, which is 'Saturn Yellow'. You can see also in this image the multi-banded structure of its atmosphere. Generally the bands have got different colors.