Nasa has released the latest raw images of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, from the Cassini spacecraft’s extended mission to the planet and its satellites.
The images show the moon’s rippling terrain in remarkable clarity.
Cassini started transmitting uncalibrated temperature data and images during a flyby on 21 November
The data will help scientists create a highly detailed mosaic image of the southern part of the moon’s Saturn-facing hemisphere, and a thermal map.
This thermal map will help researchers to study the long fractures in the south polar region of the moon’s surface, which have been dubbed “tiger stripes” and are warmer than the rest of the surface.
Scientists are particularly interested in these fissures because they spew out jets of water vapour, and other particles, in plumes that reach hundreds of kilometres above the surface.
This flyby was scientists’ last peek at the tiger stripes before the south pole fades into the darkness of winter for many years.