CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Helene 'Rev 149' Raw Preview #1

Helene 'Rev 149' Raw Preview #1
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  This raw, unprocessed image of Helene was taken on June 18, 2011 and received on Earth June 20, 2011. The camera was pointing toward Helene, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters. The image has not been validated or calibrated. A validated/calibrated image will be archived with the Planetary Data System in 2012.

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/Space Science Institute
Released: June 20, 2011
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Jul 1, 2011 at 9:36 AM):
Andrew Brown, i agree; the images are wonderful. Awe inspiring.
at 1/1500th of earth normal gravity, whatever the nature of the granuals, they will not be tightly packed. perhaps thermal expansion and contraction from daylight to night, as weak as the daylight warmth is out there, might be enough to dislodge losely packed particles. Sunslides!
Mercury_3488 (Jun 28, 2011 at 2:37 PM):
Fantastic set of images of Helene.

Do we know if the surface is dust covered or comosed of icy grains, possibly sourced from the geysers of Enceladus or Saturn's rings in general?

Also Helene is only slightly larger than the Mars moon Phobos. Helene generally lacks impact craters accenpt for the side that is leading. Phobos seen at this resolution would be heavily cratered & grooved. Helene appears to lack both. Perhaps Helenequakes from impacts triggers these landslides & erases craters??? The surface gravity cannot be any more than 1/1,500th that on Earth.

Andrew R Brown.
NeKto (Jun 22, 2011 at 11:07 AM):
when you concider how much closer to the center of gravity the "low lands" where the erosion is going really are, the gradients are no where near shallow. they are very very steep.
i agree whole heartedly with your aesthetic assesment.
portercc (Jun 21, 2011 at 11:23 AM):
PeterDarmady (Jun 21, 2011 at 7:12 AM):
Beautiful! But the first thing that springs to mind is how does the erosion occur? It reminds me very much of slab avalanches which occur here in Scotland. May I postulate, due to low gravity and fineness of particles, an electrostatic phenomenon which allows flows on shallow gradients?
enceladus5 (Jun 20, 2011 at 4:08 PM):
Awesome closeup of Helene. A strange, yet beautiful small moon.