CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Enceladus '61EN' Flyby Raw Preview #1
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Enceladus '61EN' Flyby Raw Preview #1
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  This raw, unprocessed image was taken during Cassini's very close approach to Enceladus on March 12, 2008.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 12, 2008 a distance of approximately 133,000 kilometers (83,000 miles) from Enceladus. Image scale is 794 meters (2,605 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: March 13, 2008
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Mar 15, 2008 at 5:55 PM):
The thin lines are much more naturally explained by tectonic stresses and fractures on a relatively thin brittle upper layer of the moon's surface.
wewootenathobbsnm (Mar 14, 2008 at 5:13 PM):
These pictures are indeed tantalizing! What are scientist on this project theorizing as to the cause of the numerous cross-hatching lines on Enceladus? Under low magnification they appear to be straight lines creating a pattern like one might see flying over a populated city of architecturally "civilized" design. It will be fantastic when the full truth is made known about our neighboring planets. Meanwhile, keep relaying the pictures, for that will certainly serve to fuel the fires of curiosity and intrigue.

carolyn (CICLOPS) (Mar 13, 2008 at 10:02 PM):
Not to burst anyone's bubble...but really, you ain't seen nothin' yet! Wait til you see the images that we will acquire during the August 2008 flyby this summer. During that flyby, we will be taking extremely high resolution images the tune of 8 meters/pixel...of the very spots from which the jets erupt. Hopefully, we'll find out if there is anything morphologically unusual about these locales. Maybe they all have visible vents, or openings. Up til now, we haven't had the resolution on the tiger stripe fractures to hope to see vents. But maybe in August, who knows...we might get lucky.

In the meantime, the best thing to come from this last flyby is to see:

1. Does the CIRS instrument find additional hot spots where we imaging scientists have predicted they would be from the locations we measured in our images of the individual jets coming from the fractures?

2. And will the INMS instrument definitively measure simple organic compounds and also possibly ammonia in the plume vapor. This will take us even farther in our efforts to ascertain whether or not the sub-surface source regions of the jets are as astrobiologically interesting as we now think they might be.

Keep that dial exactly where it is 'cause there are big days ahead for Cassini!

mark (Mar 13, 2008 at 9:48 PM):
Not in my wildest dreams would have emagined seeing pictures like this

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