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This map of Dione's surface, generated from images taken by the Voyager spacecraft, illustrates the imaging coverage planned during Cassini's first Dione flyby on December 14, 2004.
Colored lines enclose regions that will be covered at different imaging scales as Cassini approaches Dione.
Cassini will zoom past Dione at a distance of approximately 81,400 kilometers (50,600 miles) during this flyby. An even closer encounter with Dione is in store for Cassini in October 2005, when the spacecraft is slated to fly past the icy moon at a mere 500 kilometers (311 miles).
Images from this flyby will be superior in resolution to those obtained by Voyager 1 in November 1980. Voyager 1 passed Dione at a distance of 161,520 kilometers (100,364 miles) at closest approach, yielding a best resolution of approximately 1 kilometer per pixel. The area to be imaged at highest resolution by Cassini during this upcoming flyby will be centered on the bright, wispy terrain on Dione's trailing hemisphere, marked by the red outline on this map. The resolution of Cassini images in this region will be 500 meters per pixel and better.
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.