NASA just released a close-up of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

Posted by K R on

The Cassini spacecraft has beamed back the closest image taken yet of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, from above its south pole.

On Oct. 28, Cassini dived through the moon’s icy plume, snapping the following unprocessed photo from just 30 miles above Enceladus’s surface. Cassini—a joint project from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency—was launched in 1997 and first entered orbit around Saturn in 2004.

The spacecraft has flown closer to Enceladus’s surface in 2008, from an altitude of 16 miles (26 km), but has never dived down so close through its icy plume. The spacecraft will continue to transmit data from the Enceladus flyby in the coming days, and NASA expects Cassini’s final encounter to take place Dec. 19, when the craft will measure the amount of heat from the moon’s interior from an altitude of 3,106 miles.

Read More: Quartz

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