Sunday, August 17, 2008


On 8/11/08, the Cassini spacecraft flew by Saturn's moon Enceladus, passing within 50 kilometers. Because Enceladus and Cassini were moving relatively fast with respect to each, a remarkable technique was developed to get photographs of the surface. Cassini was first positioned ahead of Enceladus. The spacecraft with camera was then spun as fast as possible in the direction of Enceladus' predicted path. As Enceladus overtook Cassini, the spinning craft matched Enceladus' motion across the sky, snapping photos as it flew by. The new "close-ups" pinpoint where icy jets erupt from the moon.

The surface of Enceladus is marked with craters, fissures, and corrugated terrain. Images like the one below, from a prior flyby, inspired me to attempt my own version of a Enceladus moonscape, following.

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