September 13, 2010
Two sources of light reveal the dramatic surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus in this Cassini image in which geologic features give the appearance of the leathery skin of an elephant.
Geologically young terrain in the southern and middle latitudes gives way to older, cratered terrain in the northern latitudes of the moon. See New to Old on Enceladus to learn more.
Sunlight illuminates the right of the image, and light reflected off Saturn dimly illuminates the left. This view looks toward the leading hemisphere of Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across). North on Enceladus is up.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 7, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 198,000 kilometers (123,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 92 degrees. Image scale is 1 kilometer (3,300 feet) per pixel.
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