Cassini Captures Swiss-Cheese Look of Saturn Moon
An image of Saturn's small moon, Epimetheus (epp-ee-MEE-thee-
uss), was captured by the Cassini spacecraft in the closest view
ever taken of the pockmarked body.
Image right: Saturn's moon Epimetheus. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
+ Full image and caption.
Epimetheus is irregularly shaped and dotted with soft-edged
craters. The many large, softened craters on Epimetheus indicate
a surface that is several billion years old. The moon shares an
orbit with another of Saturn's small moons, Janus. The two dance
in a planetary tango as they move in almost identical orbits,
exchanging orbits every four years, instead of colliding. Both
play a role in creating intricate waves in Saturn's rings; both
have densities significantly lower than that of solid ice,
suggesting they may be "rubble piles" held together by gravity.
At 116 kilometers (72 miles) across, Epimetheus is slightly
smaller than Janus at 181 kilometers (113 miles) across. Spectra
of Epimetheus from the Cassini visual infrared mapping
spectrometer indicate that the moon is mostly water ice.
The new Epimetheus image is available at
The images for this false color composite were obtained with the
Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 30, 2005, at a
distance of approximately 74,600 kilometers (46,350 miles) from
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, 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 Cassini-Huygens mission for
NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini
orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and
assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science
Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Carolina Martinez (818) 354-9382
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Preston Dyches (720) 974-5823
Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations
Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.