CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Flight to Hyperion

Flight to Hyperion
PIA 07742

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  This movie sequence shows highlights of Cassini's September 26, 2005 flyby of the odd icy moon Hyperion (270 kilometers, 168 miles across).

The sequence begins with Cassini at a distance of 244,000 kilometers (152,000 miles) from Hyperion, with the irregularly-shaped moon not yet filling the frame. From this distance, Cassini can see that strange, dark-floored craters dot this little world.

As Cassini continues toward Hyperion, it becomes apparent that the steep sides of the giant impact feature at center have a "fluted" appearance. The walls of this feature appear to have experienced landslides that have partly covered the craters lining it.

With Cassini at an altitude of 18,000 kilometers (11,000 miles) above Hyperion, the movie then zooms-in on the large crater called Meri, which itself contains several smaller craters. The rim of Meri possesses icy outcrops, while its floor is filled with landslide debris and some of the strange dark material. The image scale at this point is about 215 meters (700 feet) per pixel.

Cassini pans across a landscape shaped by eons of impacts, revealing the dark-floored craters at high-resolution. The trip to Hyperion ends as the movie pans away from the battered moon's darkened limb.

[The movie was updated on Dec. 6, 2005.]

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: December 6, 2005 (PIA 07742)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
DEChengst (Dec 11, 2007 at 3:58 AM):
Reminds me of the Ranger missions to the moon. Good thing Cassini didn't crash...