Cassini Sees ‘Flying-Saucer’ Moon Atlas Up Close

These raw, unprocessed images of Saturn’s moon, Atlas, were taken on April 12, 2017, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The flyby had a close-approach distance of about 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers).

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

These images are the closest ever taken of Atlas and will help to characterize its shape and geology. Atlas (19 miles, or 30 kilometers across) orbits Saturn just outside the A ring — the outermost of the planet’s bright, main rings.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Unprocessed image of Saturn’s moon Atlas
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Caltech in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

Source: NASA

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