CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Mimas: Closer Than Ever Before

Mimas: Closer Than Ever Before
PIA 06255

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  This map of the surface of Mimas (396 kilometers, 246 miles across) illustrates the regions that were imaged by Cassini during the spacecraft's flyby of the moon on August 2, 2005. At closest approach, the spacecraft passed within approximately 62,900 kilometers (39,300 miles) above the moon's surface.

The colored lines delineate the regions that were imaged at differing resolutions. The closest images were obtained near closest approach. Mimas has never been imaged this closely before.

The flyby provided the best views yet of the south pole of Mimas and some of its northern latitudes, as well as distant views of the giant crater, Hershel, near the terminator (the boundary between day and night).

The highest resolution images show the trailing hemisphere of Mimas, opposite Herschel. Several fracture systems have been seen in the region in Voyager images, like Pelion Chasma and Tintagil Chasma. Images obtained from this Cassini encounter may help test whether these canyons, and others on the Mimas' surface, are related to the formation of Herschel. Craters seen on this pass are named after prominent characters in the King Arthur legend: Arthur, Merlin, Uther, Modred, and Morgan.

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: August 3, 2005 (PIA 06255)
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