CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Mimas Adrift
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Mimas Adrift
PIA 10478

Avg Rating: 9.19/10

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  Cassini looks beyond Saturn's limb toward the icy face of Mimas, the innermost of the planet's major moons.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane. Mimas is 396 kilometers (246 miles) across.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 4, 2007 at a distance of approximately 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Saturn and 2.8 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Mimas. Image scale is 16 kilometers (10 miles) per pixel on Saturn and 17 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel on Mimas.

The Cassini Equinox Mission 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.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: September 26, 2008 (PIA 10478)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Sep 26, 2008 at 2:43 PM):
Sorry, forgot to add; nice image. Red_dragon; another nice comparison. thanks again.
NeKto (Sep 26, 2008 at 2:36 PM):
Back in the old days (Mercury program to voyager) the stated "Mission cost" had more to do with harware and launch. the actuall science work was budgeted as "operations"
this is from the typical military acounting procedures inherited by NASA. But the harware and launch are the major expences. once you get the vehicle where you want it, the rest is "pennies on the dollar". from my point of view, the "good stuff" (real scientific data) is cheep, getting the "shovel" to where you can "dig it up" is what costs the most.
my guess is the number you have is "in the ball park."
rulesfor (Sep 26, 2008 at 11:00 AM):
Thank you for another beautiful, natural color picture.
I have questions with regard to the cost of this mission, and I'm hoping that Carolyn or somebody else who's knowledgeable could answer.
Cassini's page on Wikipedia states a total cost of $3.26 billion, with the U.S. paying $2.6 billion of that. I'm assuming this was the cost through the end of the primary mission, and am wondering how much the two year extension is projected to cost. I'm also wondering what time period that money was spent over, so I could break out an average yearly cost. It would be even more helpful if someone could point me to a place that shows how much money was in fact spent on this mission in each fiscal year.
I remember in a Cosmos episode when Sagan explained the cost of the Voyager probes per person. I would like to have, or figure out, similar numbers for this mission, as I think it's an excellent way to show people that they're getting far more for their money than they might think.
Any info or help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Red_dragon (Sep 26, 2008 at 8:15 AM):
Certainly, a beautiful encore-like image of this other:

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