PIA08258: Living Moon

 Living Moon

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Enceladus continues to exhale water ice into Saturn orbit, keeping the E ring topped off with tiny particles.

Enceladus (505 kilometers, or 314 miles across) is a source of much interest for planetary scientists, being nearly seven times smaller in diameter than Earth’s own moon, yet having active geology that appears to involve near-surface liquid water.

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 11, 2006 at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 164 degrees. 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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at ciclops.org.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Source: NASA’s Planetary Photojournal: Image No. PIA08258