September 15, 2006
This set of images exposes details on small and crumpled-looking Helene. Large portions of this Trojan moon of Dione appear to have been blasted away by impacts.
Cassini passed within 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) of Helene (32 kilometers, or 20 miles across) on Aug. 17, 2006, when these images were acquired. The views were obtained over the course of an hour, and are presented here in reverse order (i.e., the leftmost image was taken latest).
The images were taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera. As presented here, the views were acquired at distances ranging from 62,000 to 51,000 kilometers (39,000 to 32,000 miles) from Helene and at a Sun-Helene-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 111 to 120 degrees. Image scale is 375 to 300 meters (1,230 to 984 feet) per pixel, from left to right.
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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute