NASA's Cassini spacecraft examines the rough dark-light dichotomy of the terrain on Saturn's moon Iapetus. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus.
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Iapetus' Puzzling Surface

The Cassini spacecraft examines the rough dark-light dichotomy of the terrain on Saturn's moon Iapetus.

Scientists continue to investigate the nature of this moon's surface. See PIA08384 to learn more. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 8 degrees to the left. Scale on Iapetus was 7 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel in the original image. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of two to enhance the visibility of surface features.

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 13, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 103 degrees.

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 mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

Image details

ID#:
PIA12521

Date added:
2010-01-06

Target:
Iapetus

Mission:
Cassini-Huygens

Spacecraft:
Cassini Orbiter

Instruments:
Imaging Science Subsystem - Narrow Angle

Rating:



Views:
5,143

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA12521.tif (0.67 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA12521.jpg (0.01 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute