30 December 2005

Cassini Spots Tethys' Steep Scarps

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

What an intriguing landscape! Saturn's moon Tethys is relatively small, a mere 659 miles in diameter, and orbits the ringed gas giant at a distance of over 180,000 mi. As evidenced by an increasing number of similar fantastic images though, great things do indeed come in small packages.

Image details are in this latest press release:

This view of the surface of Saturn's moon Tethys, taken during Cassini's close approach to the moon on Sept. 24, 2005, reveals an icy land of steep cliffs. The view is of the southernmost extent of Ithaca Chasma, in a region not seen by NASA's Voyager spacecraft.

The ridges around Ithaca Chasma have been thoroughly hammered by impacts. This appearance suggests that Ithaca Chasma as a whole is very old.

There is brighter material in the floors of many craters on Tethys. That's the opposite situation from Saturn's oddly tumbling moon Hyperion, where dark material is concentrated in the bottoms of many craters.

This view is centered on terrain at approximately 2.5 degrees south latitude and 352 degrees west longitude on Tethys. North on Tethys is toward the right in this view.

This clear filter view was obtained using the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 32,300 kilometers (20,000 miles) from Tethys and at a Sun-Tethys-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 20 degrees. Image scale is 190 meters (620 feet) per pixel.

For more on Tethys, visit Bill Arnett's page and view previous entries in NASA's Planetary Photojournal.

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