NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured images of three of Saturn’s icy moons March 27–28, including this raw, unprocessed image of Enceladus.
Cassini passed Enceladus first, coming within about 74 kilometers of the moon’s surface. The encounter was primarily designed for Cassini’s ion and neutral mass spectrometer to “taste” the composition of Enceladus’ south polar plume. Cassini’s cameras captured a nine-frame mosaic of the surface of the moon’s leading hemisphere as the spacecraft left the moon.
Cassini then passed the small moon Janus with a closest approach distance of 44,000 kilometers. Saturn is in the background in some of those views.
Early on March 28, the spacecraft flew by Dione at a distance of 44,000 kilometers and collected, among other observations, a nine-frame mosaic depicting the side of the moon that faces away from Saturn in its orbit.
All of Cassini’s raw images can be seen at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.