Cassini’s Final Breathtaking Close Views of Dione

Aug 25, 2015

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

By Preston Dyches

A pockmarked, icy landscape looms beneath NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in new images of Saturn’s moon Dione taken during the mission’s last close approach to the small, icy world. Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the best resolution ever.

Cassini passed 295 miles (474 kilometers) above Dione’s surface at 11:33 a.m. PDT (2:33 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 17. This was the fifth close encounter with Dione during Cassini’s long tour at Saturn. The mission’s closest-ever flyby of Dione was in Dec. 2011, at a distance of 60 miles (100 kilometers).

“I am moved, as I know everyone else is, looking at these exquisite images of Dione’s surface and crescent, and knowing that they are the last we will see of this far-off world for a very long time to come,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team lead at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “Right down to the last, Cassini has faithfully delivered another extraordinary set of riches. How lucky we have been.”

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One comment on “Cassini’s Final Breathtaking Close Views of Dione”

  • After the initial Cassini-Huygens success at Titan, many people have forgotten that this probe continues to explore and record the details of the Saturnian system.
    It can continue for about another two years until its fuel runs out and it is no longer able to point its instruments, of direct its transmitters towards Earth.
    Now it will move on to look at some of the other moons as identified opportunities present themselves

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