Amazing pictures of Saturn's spongy moon Hyperion
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: October 2, 2005
Hyperion has a notably reddish tint when viewed in natural color. The red color was toned down in this false-color view, and the other hues were enhanced, in order to make more subtle color variations across Hyperion's surface more apparent.
Images taken using infrared, green and ultraviolet spectral filters were combined to create this view. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft's narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 62,000 kilometers (38,500 miles) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 52 degrees. The image scale is 362 meters (1,200 feet) per pixel.
The mosaic is composed of five clear filter images taken during Cassini's close flyby of Hyperion on Sept. 26, 2005. The spacecraft passed approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) above the moon's surface. Hyperion is 266 kilometers (165 miles) in diameter.
Scientists are extremely curious to learn what the dark material is that fills many craters on this oddball moon. Features within the dark terrain, including a 200-meter-wide (650-foot) impact crater surrounded by rays to the right of center and numerous bright-rimmed craters, indicate that the dark material may be only tens of meters (hundreds of feet) thick with brighter material beneath.
Scientists will also be examining Cassini's sharp views to try to determine whether there have been multiple episodes of landslides on Hyperion. Such "downslope" movement is evident in the filling of craters with debris and the near elimination of many craters along the steeper slopes. Answers to these questions may help solve the mystery of why this object has evolved different surface forms from other moons of Saturn.
The images comprising this mosaic were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at distances ranging from approximately 8,500 kilometers (5,300 miles) to 4,600 kilometers (2,900 miles) from Hyperion. Image scale is 26 meters (85 feet) per pixel.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 32,300 kilometers (20,000 miles) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 127 degrees. Image scale is 192 meters (630 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.