August 7, 2008
Fractures, or "tiger stripes," where icy jets erupt on Saturn's moon Enceladus will be the target of a close flyby by the Cassini spacecraft on Monday, Aug. 11.
Cassini will zoom past the tiny moon a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the surface. Just after closest approach, all of the spacecraft's cameras -- covering infrared wavelengths, where temperatures are mapped, as well as visible light and ultraviolet -- will focus on the fissures running along the moon's south pole. That is where the jets of icy water vapor emanate and erupt hundreds of miles into space. Those jets have fascinated scientists since their discovery in 2005.