Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/JPL Cassini Mission.
Well here it is…..this is where our journey to the surface of Saturn’s sixth largest moon Enceladus ends.
This 7.5 mile diameter image of a section of the Baghdad sulcus was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on NOV 21, 2009 from an altitude of about 998 miles. Just as a note; there have been quite a few passes much closer than this. One pass brought Cassini to within 14 miles (23 km) of Enceladus’s equator. A very close pass of Enceladus’s South Polar Region is still to come as I believe it’s scheduled for Oct 28, 2015 at a distance of 30 miles (49 km).
Baghdad sulcus, if you look at the previous image is the second “Tiger Stripe” from the left and it’s also the longest one. It’s about 80-100 miles (129-161 km) long in total, the ridges rise about 150 meters (492 ft.) high and the fissure itself sinks to a depth of about 250 meters (820 ft.).
The surface detail in these images is just incredible and should never be understated. You can almost imagine yourself walking around the surface, navigating the terrain and just standing in utter amazement that you’re on another planetary body. Oh; and you WILL want to look up as if you remember the 1st of these three images, you will have the best view of Saturn you could ever imagine!
CICLOPS Cassini images: http://www.ciclops.org/ir_index_main.php
Cassini Enceladus page: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/moons/enceladus/
Cassini Enceladus image collection: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/?subCategory=22
NASA JPL Photojournal: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/
NASA JPL Space Images Cassini search: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/search_grid.php?sort=views&target=Enceladus
NASA JPL Cassini Enceladus flybys: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/moons/enceladus/index.cfm?pageListID=1
NASA Cassini Enceladus info: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/whycassini/cassini20120326.html