Follow this link to skip to the main content

Iapetus' Puzzling Surface



Category: Moons > Iapetus

Saturn's moon Iapetus

Iapetus' Puzzling Surface
January 6, 2010
Full-Res: PIA12521

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 The Other Side of Iapetus 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 .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute




  • Blend space exploration with reading and writing -- Reading, Writing & Rings!
  • Cassini Scientist for a Day -- Students get involved
  • Cassini Raw Images