During its closest ever dive past the active south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus, NASA's Cassini spacecraft quickly shuttered its imaging cameras to capture glimpses of the fast moving terrain below.
The south polar region of Saturn's active, icy moon Enceladus awaits NASA's Cassini spacecraft in this view, acquired on approach to the mission's deepest-ever dive through the moon's plume of icy spray.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this view as it neared icy Enceladus for its closest-ever dive past the moon's active south polar region. The view shows heavily cratered northern latitudes at top, transitioning to fractured, wrinkled terrain.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft spied this tight trio of craters as it approached Saturn's icy moon Enceladus for a close flyby on Oct. 14, 2015. The craters, located at high northern latitudes, are sliced through by thin fractures.
This view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows battered terrain around the north pole of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. Craters crowd and overlap each other, each one recording an impact in the moon's distant past.
Enceladus looks as though it is half lit by sunlight in this view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Images like this one are designed to capture the extended plume of icy material spraying from the moon's south polar region.
Icy Curtain Eruptions on Enceladus Create an Illusion of Discrete Jets (Simulation)
This simulation, which begins and ends with a real image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, demonstrates how the appearance of discrete jets could be an optical illusion that varies based on viewing geometry.
Tendril-producing Geysers on Enceladus' South Polar Terrain
This graphic plots the source locations of geysers scientists have located on Enceladus' south polar terrain, with the 36 most active geyser sources marked and color coded by the behavior of the grains erupting from the geysers.
This collage of NASA's Cassini spacecraft images and computer simulations shows how long, sinuous features from Enceladus can be modeled by tracing the trajectories of tiny, icy grains ejected from the moon's south polar geysers.
This illustration depicts potential origins of methane found in the plume of gas and ice particles that sprays from Saturn's moon, Enceladus, based on research by scientists working with the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer on NASA's Cassini mission.
Enceladus: Possible Hydrothermal Activity (Artist's Concept)
This cutaway view of Saturn's moon Enceladus is an artist's rendering that depicts possible hydrothermal activity that may be taking place on and under the seafloor of the moon's subsurface ocean, based on published results from NASA's Cassini mission.
NASA's Cassini orbiter shows that Enceladus (visible in the lower-left corner of the image) is but a speck before enormous Saturn, but even a small moon can generate big waves of excitement throughout the scientific community.
What Lies Beneath: Regional View (Artist's Concept)
This artist's rendering shows a regional cross-section of the ice shell underlying Enceladus' south polar terrain, illustrating our current knowledge of the physical and thermal structure and processes ongoing below and at the surface.
What Lies Beneath: Close Up View (Artist's Concept)
This artist's rendering shows a cross-section of the ice shell immediately beneath one of Enceladus' geyser-active fractures, illustrating the physical and thermal structure and the processes ongoing below and at the surface.
On this polar stereographic map of Enceladus' south polar terrain, all 100 geysers have been plotted whose source locations have been determined in NASA's Cassini's imaging survey of the moon's geyser basin.
This plot shows the variation in brightness of the plume of material, composed of all the geysers erupting from the south polar terrain of Saturn's moon Enceladus, as a function of the moon's orbital position around Saturn.