CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
The Great Basin

Plunging cliffs and towering mountains characterize the gigantic impact structure called Odysseus on Saturn's moon Tethys. The great impact basin lies before Cassini in one of the best views yet obtained.

Quite a few small craters are visible inside Odysseus (450 kilometers or 280 miles across), making it clear that this is not a very young structure. However, a comparison of cratering density between the interior of Odysseus and the surrounding terrain should show whether the large basin is at least relatively young.

Odysseus is on the leading hemisphere of Tethys (1,062 kilometers, 660 miles across). North is up and rotated 18 degrees to the right.

The image was taken in polarized ultraviolet light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 24, 2005 at a distance of approximately 196,000 kilometers (122,000 miles) from Tethys and at a Sun-Tethys-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 85 degrees. Resolution in the original image was 1 kilometer (3,831 feet) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of two and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.

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: April 2, 2009 (PIA 07693)
Image/Caption Information
  The Great Basin
PIA 07693

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Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Nov 22, 2009 at 11:39 PM):
'cryovolcanic' , not 'cryocolcanic' . Sorry for that.
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Nov 22, 2009 at 11:35 PM):
A side note: At the 1 and 2'o clock position at the center of this basin there are somewhat interesting features at the inner sides of the mountains making up the inner ring of that basin that are among the brightest features here. Perhaps they have been cryocolcanic flows of viscous, slow-moving ices ? I don't expect them to be young. They happened just after the formation of that basin I suppose.

The resolution of the image doesn't show enough details to be certain. So my idea is uncertain.
mipsandbips (Jun 3, 2009 at 9:35 PM):
Considering the uniqueness of the cratering density there is
evidence that may point to the causation as from an explosion or
implosion as opposed to a collision.