CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Reshaping the Craters
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Craters on Enceladus tend to be modified by a couple of different processes that are visible in this view.

Most crater rims on this icy surface appear to have softened, or "relaxed," shapes compared to the initial, crisp appearance they likely possessed when first formed by impacts. Additionally, systems of tectonic folds and fractures cut through craters, like those at top center, renewing the more ancient, cratered surface. One of the largest of these systems is Samarkand Sulci, which stretches from lower right toward upper left in this view.

The view looks toward terrain near the north pole of Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across) from 48 degrees above the moon's equator. Lit terrain seen here is on the moon's Saturn-facing side. North is up and rotated 16 degrees to the left.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 30, 2008 using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of polarized green light centered at 617 and 568 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 161,000 kilometers (100,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 85 degrees. Image scale is 962 meters (0.6 mile) per pixel.

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: August 12, 2008 (PIA 10445)
Image/Caption Information
  Reshaping the Craters
PIA 10445

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