Cassini’s Close Flyby of Enceladus Yields Surprising, Perplexing Imagery

Craters near Enceladus' north pole region appear to be 'melting' into each other. Image taken by Cassini spacecraft on October 14, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Craters near Enceladus’ north pole region appear to be ‘melting’ into each other. Image taken by Cassini spacecraft on October 14, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

If you thought Saturn’s moon Enceladus couldn’t get any more bizzare — with its magnificent plumes, crazy tiger-stripe-like fissures and global subsurface salty ocean — think again. New images of this moon’s northern region just in from the Cassini spacecraft shows surprising and perplexing features: a tortured surface where craters that look like they are melting, fractures that cut straight across the landscape.

“We’ve been puzzling over Enceladus’ south pole for so long, time to be puzzled by the north pole!” tweeted NASA engineer Sarah Milkovich, who formerly worked on the Cassini mission.

While the Cassini mission has been at the Saturn system since 2004 and flown by this moon several times, this is the spacecraft’s first close-up look at the north polar region of Enceladus. On October 14, 2015 the spacecraft passed at an altitude of just 1,839 kilometers (1,142 miles) above the moon’s surface.

See more imagery below:
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Read the rest of Cassini’s Close Flyby of Enceladus Yields Surprising, Perplexing Imagery (555 words)


© nancy for Universe Today, 2015. |
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