Cassini Spacecraft Offers These Dreamy Photos of Saturn's Moon Prometheus

The NASA craft takes a close-up view of one of the many moons within the Saturnian system.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Prometheus on Sunday, revealing its craggy, cratered surface.

The Saturnian moon Prometheus.NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

According to NASA, this view is an especially high resolution view of Prometheus (north facing upwards), one of Saturn’s 62 natural satellites, taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft’s narrow-angle camera from a distance of roughly 23,000 miles.

Prometheus orbits Saturn inside the planet’s F ring, which crosses the image horizontally above the moon.

Prometheus is a small moon, about 90 miles in length, and was discovered in 1980 during the Voyager spacecraft exploratory mission. Cassini—properly known as the Cassini-Huygens mission—was designed specifically to explore the Saturian system. Cassini is an orbiting device, and is still exploring Saturn and its moon, but it has since jettisoned the Huygens portion—a probe launched into the atmosphere and landed onto the surface of Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon.

Cassini had previously taken close photos of Prometheus in 2009:

This view of Prometheus looks toward the moon's leading hemisphere, with north facing upwards. The image was taken in visible light on Dec. 26, 2009.  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

…and again in 2010:

A view of Prometheus, looking toward the moon's trailing hemisphere, with north facing upwards. The image was taken in visible light on on Jan. 27, 2010.NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Cassini also took a high-resolution photo of the Saturnian moon Epimetheus on Sunday:

The Saturnian moon Epimetheus. (Dec. 6, 2015)NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
The Saturnian moon Epimetheus. (Dec. 6, 2015)NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The image was taken in green polarized light, north facing upwards.

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