PIA06653: Bright Ice, Dirty Ice

Bright Ice, Dirty Ice
Target Name: Enceladus
Mission: Cassini
Spacecraft: Cassini Orbiter
Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem - Narrow Angle
Product Size: 969 samples x 997 lines
Produced By: Cassini Imaging Team
Full-Res TIFF: PIA06653.tif (2.903 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA06653.jpg (39.94 kB)
Medium-Res JPEG: PIA06653_modest.jpg (16.48 kB)

Original Caption Released with Image:

Saturn's icy moon Enceladus hovers above Saturn's exquisite rings in this color view from Cassini. The rings, made of nearly pure water ice, have also become somewhat contaminated by meteoritic dust during their history, which may span several hundred million years. Enceladus shares the rings' nearly pure water ice composition, but appears to have eluded dust contamination through resurfacing processes that scientists are still trying to understand. Enceladus is 505 kilometers (314 miles) across.

Dust affects the rings' color, while differences in brightness are attributable to varying particle sizes and concentrations.

The images for this natural color view were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 5, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn through red, green and blue spectral filters. The image scale is 13 kilometers (8 miles) 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. For additional images visit the Cassini imaging team homepage http://ciclops.org.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Image and caption provided by the Planetary Photojournal -- PIA06653