Tuesday, 13 March 2012

NASA releases new Cassini images of Saturn's moon Rhea.

The Cassini Space Probe was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in October 1997, and reached orbit around Saturn in June 2004. Since this time it has been in orbit about the planet studying the ring system and various moons. On 10 March 2012 the satellite took a series of images of the moon Rhea during a flyby, images that were received back on Earth on 12-13 March, and have been made available on the Cassini web-page by NASA. The images have not been processed in any way, though processed images with more information will presumably be available in the near future.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 50 736 km.

Rhea is the second largest moon of Saturn and the ninth largest moon in the Solar System, with a diameter of 1528 km. It orbits Saturn at a distance of 527 000 km, once every 4.5 days. It has an apparently rocky, cratered surface similar to that of our Moon, but studies have suggested it is far less dense, and is probably about 75% ice, with a small rocky core.

The orbits of the major moons of Saturn.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 49 497 km. NASA.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 46 060 km. NASA.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 46 838 km. NASA.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 45 170 km. NASA.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 44 524 km. NASA.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 43 317 km. NASA.

Image of the surface of Rhea taken by the Cassini Space Probe from a distance of 42 051 km. NASA.

See also Saturn's moon Dione found to have an atmosphere and Saturn on Sciency Thoughts YouTube.

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