|ESA Science & Technology||04-Jul-2005 14:22:33|
Knowledge before Cassini-Huygens
Enceladus has a relatively young surface showing a wide range of features suggesting an active geological history. Some surface regions are devoid of craters - having been covered by ice flows or reformed by geological processes. These smoother regions show no evidence for cratering suggesting that they have formed within the last 100 million years.
These differences suggest that there is a plastic, or liquid layer around 15 km below the crust. No volcanic features have been seen on the surface, but current theories suggest material from Enceladus is being used to refresh Saturn's E ring.
*Note: in the following section all images courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute unless stated otherwise.
23 July 2004Cassini Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem
20 November 2004Cassini Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem
This Cassini view of Enceladus hints at the curvilinear, groove-like features that crisscross the moon's surface, as seen in images from NASA's Voyager spacecraft. The image shows the trailing hemisphere of Enceladus, which is the side opposite the moon's direction of motion in its orbit.
20 January 2005Cassini Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem
This image of Enceladus shows a region containing bizarre, wrinkled terrain, largely free of craters, indicating that this region is geologically young. This view shows primarily the leading hemisphere of Enceladus. The image has been rotated so that north on Enceladus is up.
18 February 2005Cassini Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem
The topographic relief in this view is only about one kilometre, which is quite low for a small, low-gravity satellite. However, this is consistent with other evidence that points to interior melting and resurfacing in Enceladus' history.
The mosaic covers longitudes from about 254 west to 296 west and latitudes from 60 south to the equator, and shows many styles of fracturing.
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