NOV 18, 2015 2:51 PM PST

Cassini Shows How Much More Reflective Enceladus is Than Dione

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Within our solar system in the Saturnian neighborhood, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is orbiting around and collecting information about Saturn and its surrounding moons in order to learn more about how they were formed and whether or not its possible for any of them to support any signs of life.
 
As a part of its stay there, it takes a lot of photographs and performs tests with onboard instruments. It is with these photographs that NASA and the ESA can learn more about the past of these rocky space bodies and draw conclusions as to how and why they were formed. A lot of what tells the story of a planet, or a moon, is the composition of its surface.
 
In a recent picture snapped by Cassini’s narrow-angle camera in invisible light on September 15th, Saturns’ moons Enceladus and Dione are shown in the same frame. What this gives scientists is enough information to deduce that Enceladus, the moon in the background, and Dione, the moon in the foreground, do not have the same amount of reflectivity despite havening similar surface compositions.
 

Enceladus (background), and Dione (foreground); two of Saturn's moons as pictured by Cassini.


The image was taken more than 52,000 miles away from Dione, where each pixel illustrating Dione in the photograph translates to about 1600 feet, and 228,000 miles away from Enceladus, where each pixel illustrating Enceladus in the photograph translates to about 1.4 miles.
 
Dione has a much bumpier and weathered surface, while Enceladus has a smoother and inactive surface. The result of all the activity on Dione’s surface over the years has kicked up plenty of rocks and debris.
 
Scientists believe that the reason Enceladus has such a higher amount of reflectivity has to do with the fact that ice jets continue to lay fresh icy particles on the moon’s surface, while Dione has significantly fewer traces of ice. The weathering of Dione’s surface also leaves it with a darker appearance.

Source: NASA

About the Author
Other
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 15, 2022
Technology
Grad Student Highlights: Trupti Mahendrakar (Florida Institute of Technology)
Grad Student Highlights: Trupti Mahendrakar (Florida Institute of Technology)
Trupti Mahendrakar is a PhD student in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering at the Florida Instit ...
OCT 23, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Black Hole "Wobble" Wobbles Researchers
Black Hole "Wobble" Wobbles Researchers
In a recent study published in Nature, an international team of researchers led by Cardiff University in the United King ...
NOV 26, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Could We Find Life in Caves Off Earth?
Could We Find Life in Caves Off Earth?
In two connected studies published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, “Fundamental Science and Engin ...
DEC 28, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Solar System Wonders: Titan's Seas
Solar System Wonders: Titan's Seas
We previously explored Saturn's largest moon, Titan, but now we'll take a more up-close examination of this myst ...
DEC 20, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Have Found the Best Evidence of "Water Worlds" To Date
Astronomers Have Found the Best Evidence of "Water Worlds" To Date
A recent paper published in Nature Astronomy presents a detailed study of the planetary system Kepler-138 and has found ...
JAN 18, 2023
Space & Astronomy
JWST Confirms Its First Exoplanet
JWST Confirms Its First Exoplanet
A team of scientists are using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to identify and analyze rocky planets, muc ...
Loading Comments...