Soar Over the Surface of Tethys with Cassini
On Nov. 11, 2015, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft passed relatively closely by Saturn’s moon Tethys, one of the ringed planet’s larger icy satellites. The animation above was made from 29 raw images acquired with Cassini’s narrow-angle camera as it passed by; you can see part of the incredibly cratered and ancient surface of this 662 mile (1,065 km) wide moon. Talk about flyover country!
Tethys (pronounced TEE-this), along with its larger sisters Dione and Rhea, is one of the most heavily-cratered worlds in the Solar System, if just slightly less so than the other two. With a density .97 times that of liquid water Tethys is composed almost entirely of water ice with a small percentage of rock.
This particular pass did not appear to be part of a targeted flyby of Tethys (see a list of those here) so it may have just been a chance to get a look at the moon’s surface as Cassini is on its way to meet up with Titan on Nov. 13 for T-114.
Note: these images have not been validated or calibrated by NASA or the SSI imaging team. As with all raw images, validated/calibrated versions will be archived with the NASA Planetary Data System in 2016.