CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Flight over Iapetus

Flight over Iapetus
PIA 08404

Avg Rating: 8.89/10

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  Cassini sails low over the surface of Iapetus on approach to its close encounter with the enigmatic moon on Sept. 10, 2007.

Its flight takes it over the rugged, mountainous ridge along the moon's equator, where ancient, impact battered peaks -- some topping 10 kilometers (6 miles) in height -- are seen rising over the horizon and slipping beneath the spacecraft as it flies.

Frames used in this movie were acquired with the Cassini wide-angle camera on Sept. 10, 2007, as the intrepid robot soared past Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across), within a few thousand kilometers of the surface. Additional simulated images were inserted between the Cassini images in this movie in order to smooth the appearance of the movement -- a scheme called interpolation.

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 08404)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
dholmes (Nov 26, 2008 at 9:54 AM):
Are those white caps off in the distance. What type and when did this techtonic activity occur in rth early formation of Iapetus. I'm a late comer to this sight but it's at the top of my internet list.
brandtk (Dec 11, 2007 at 12:47 PM):
Very true, Carolyn! The sequence where we just start to see 'whitecaps' on the hills would make an excellent 'end teaser' for many news programs...perhaps if we intimate that this is where Osama's hiding? Sorry for that, but not sorry enough to delete it. I hold that we have a responsibility to move people past the media/myth phase, even if it takes a sarcastic shot once in a while.
I know this set of images gets top billing in my planetarium's teaser program...
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Dec 8, 2007 at 5:43 PM):
VAE: Well, maybe if enough people wrote to their local and national TV stations and complained about the caliber of the news, and requested more news about the space program, something might happen. Mainstream media gives the public what they think the public wants to see. We need to reverse that impression! - Carolyn
VAE (Dec 7, 2007 at 5:53 AM):
DEChengst (Nov 30, 2007 at 10:01 AM):
It's like being there in your own little spaceship, listening to Pink Floyd's "Echoes", while you're looking for the monolith.
Kevin S. Moore (Nov 28, 2007 at 11:44 PM):
Riding shot gun in the ksy.. awsome. I voted on this one.

Kevin 2nd shift.