Cassini chasms

Cassini reveals chasms on Saturn’s moon Dione

NASA has released new imagery of the surface of Saturn’s moon Dione taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera earlier this year.

The imaging shows a bright network of fractures on the moon, which is 1123 kilometres in diameter.

The nature of this terrain was unclear until Cassini showed that they weren’t surface deposits of frost, as some had suspected, but rather a pattern of bright icy cliffs among myriad fractures. One possibility is that this stress pattern may be related to Dione’s orbital evolution and the effect of tidal stresses over time.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 110,000 kilometres from Dione.

Cassini yesterday made its last close fly-by of Dione.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org