Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mimas the Big One

Mimas' gigantic crater Herschel lies near the moon's limb in this Cassini view.

A big enough impact could potentially break up a moon. Luckily for Mimas, whatever created Herschel was not quite big enough to cause that level of disruption.

When large impacts happen, they deliver tremendous amounts of energy -- sometimes enough to cause global destruction.  Even impacts that are not catastrophic can leave enormous, near-permanent scars on bodies like Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across).

This view looks toward the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Mimas. North on Mimas is up and rotated 32 degrees to the left. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 19, 2016.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 53,000 miles (85,000 kilometers) from Mimas. Image scale is 1,677 feet (511 meters) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (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. 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, Colorado.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (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. 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, Colorado.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Cassini

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