“Remember the Cant” : Cassini Captures Stunning View of Three Water Rich Moons at Saturn

A Water Rich View Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A Water Rich View
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA released this photo of three of Saturn’s moons yesterday. The image, which was taken by the Cassini spacecraft in December shows Tethys, Enceladus and Mimas cast against the absurdly photogenic backdrop of Saturn’s rings. The original caption was “Three Times the Fun,” but perhaps it could also hae been called “Three Times the Fuel.” All three moons are water rich, with Tethys and Mimas being comprised almost entirely of ice, and Enceladus harboring a global ocean under its icy crust.

In SYFY’s popular series The Expanse, the unlucky ship Canterbury is unexpectedly destroyed after a long career first hauling colonists to the asteroid belt, and then ice from Saturn’s rings to keep them alive. Such an image might have been in the rear view mirror when she left Saturn’s system for the final time.

How long might it be until science fiction meets actual fact, and this image sent to us in 2015 courtesy of Cassini greets the first crew arriving from Earth? And how pissed will they be that NASA crashed Cassini into Saturn rather than finding a safe orbit to preserve this magnificent spacecraft for future generations?

Original NASA Post:

Three of Saturn’s moons — Tethys, Enceladus and Mimas — are captured in this group photo from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across) appears above the rings, while Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) sits just below center. Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across) hangs below and to the left of Enceladus.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 0.4 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 3, 2015.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 837,000 miles (1.35 million kilometers) from Enceladus, with an image scale of 5 miles (8 kilometers) per pixel. Tethys was approximately 1.2 million miles (1.9 million kilometers) away with an image scale of 7 miles (11 kilometers) per pixel.  Mimas was approximately 1.1 million miles (1.7 million kilometers) away with an image scale of 6 miles (10 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado

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1 Comment on "“Remember the Cant” : Cassini Captures Stunning View of Three Water Rich Moons at Saturn"

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  1. Keith Pickering says:

    Stunningly beautiful. In future centuries, when solar-system-level space tourism becomes a reality, Saturn will be everyone’s top destination.

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