NASA Releases the First Amazing Images from Cassini's Enceladus Encounter

Friday, 30 October 2015 - 3:36PM
Space
Astronomy
Space Imagery
Friday, 30 October 2015 - 3:36PM
NASA Releases the First Amazing Images from Cassini's Enceladus Encounter
Cassini just took a deep dive into Enceladus's geysers on Wednesday, and while we don't yet have the potentially historic results from the data samples, we do have the pictures to prove it. NASA just released the first couple of raw images of the encounter on their website, and they're as breathtaking as you would expect.

First Pictures of Cassini's Enceladus Flyby
At 11:30 am on Wednesday, Cassini hurtled by Enceladus at a distance of a mere 18.6 miles, the third close encounter with Saturn's moon in the last year. In the unprocessed photographs, Enceladus is illuminated by Saturnshine, or light coming off of Saturn's atmosphere. The north pole is in daytime, while the south pole is in darkness. 

During the flyby, the spacecraft came into brief contact with the water vapor venting from the south pole's subsurface ocean. The probe's instruments collected a sample of the water, and will analyze it for potential habitability. Scientists will receive results from the data within a few weeks, and they hope to learn whether Enceladus is habitable for extraterrestrial life.

Cassini will make a final flyby past Enceladus on December 19, and then will study other bodies surrounding Saturn for the next two years. The probe will then end its historic mission and crash into Saturn's atmosphere, destroying itself in the process.
Science
NASA
Space
Astronomy
Space Imagery

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