CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

A Fractured Pole
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A Fractured Pole
PIA 19660

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  NASA's Cassini spacecraft zoomed by Saturn's icy moon Enceladus on Oct. 14, 2015, capturing this stunning image of the moon's north pole. A companion view from the wide-angle camera (PIA20010) shows a zoomed out view of the same region for context.

Scientists expected the north polar region of Enceladus to be heavily cratered, based on low-resolution images from the Voyager mission, but high-resolution Cassini images show a landscape of stark contrasts. Thin cracks cross over the pole -- the northernmost extent of a global system of such fractures. Before this Cassini flyby, scientists did not know if the fractures extended so far north on Enceladus.

North on Enceladus is up. The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 4,000 miles (6,000 kilometers) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 9 degrees. Image scale is 115 feet (35 meters) per pixel.

The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Released: October 15, 2015 (PIA 19660)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Mar 4, 2016 at 8:57 PM):
That part of Enceladus is much more interesting than I expected. This image is very fascinating showing a lot of tectonic features.
jsc248 (Oct 16, 2015 at 2:41 PM):
The feeling of almost being there sitting on top of the probe is overwhelming. What superb, breath-taking and thought provoking images these are.

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