CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Enceladus '61EN' Flyby Raw Preview #3

Enceladus '61EN' Flyby Raw Preview #3
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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 30,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) from Enceladus. Image scale is 176 meters (578 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
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Sep 10, 2010 at 8:23 PM):
In this view there are a lot of interesting hill ranges between the middle and the left at the terminator. At the upper right there is older, cratered terrain, but also showing that Enceladus modified those craters. The younger terrain has got a sharp transition at the upper right to the older terrain which is remarkable.
Mercury_3488 (Mar 13, 2008 at 5:31 PM):
Hi volcanopele,

I wonder if the active area in the south is a remnant of a giant impact basin? The area & striation seem to be circular around the curcumferance, with the Tiger Stripes, looking like hardening skin on paint in a paintpot with no lid?

The cratered north to me does not look primeval, yes there are a lot of craters, but they are softened, like many on Dione, Jupiter's Ganymede & the Uranus moons Titania & Oberon, certainly being cryovolcanic bodies in the past, until fairly 'recent' times geologically speaking.

The sharp demarkation between the cratered & 'newer' terrain you picked up on, seems to suggest to me that the ice crustal thickness, increases suddenly from south to north, perhaps also an impact consequence?

The neighbouring moon Mimas was nearly destroyed in the collision that created the Herschel Crater, but then Mimas is near enough pure ice, that was brittle. Enceladus being composed with a larger amount of rock, perhaps even differentiated behaved differently, the huge impact scar, filled with cryolava instead, creating this weird surface & dichotomous morphology?

Andrew Brown.
volcanopele (Mar 13, 2008 at 2:15 PM):
This kind of sharp transition is common with the youthful terrains on Enceladus. Particularly, if you look at the south polar region [ - bottom half of the mosaic] you see a very clear margin between the cratered terrain on Enceladus' anti-Saturn hemisphere, and the nearly crater-free south polar terrain.

As to what it means in this particular case, that will require further study with the obtained in this encounter, as well as some global scale images acquired late last year []
three_sixteen (Mar 13, 2008 at 12:45 PM):
This image is very interesting, there appear to be two halves - a less active pock marked surface, and a more active wrinkled surface - with an almost clear division between them.

I wonder what it means? :)