Cassini's very last targeted flyby of Saturn's moon, Rhea, occurred this past weekend, and images from that event are now on the ground and available for your discerning examination. Take a good, long, luxurious look at these sights from another world, as they will be the last close-ups you'll ever see of this particular moon.
Our mission at Saturn has been ongoing for nearly 9 years and is slated to continue for another 4. Targeted flybys of the moons Dione, in June and August of 2015, and Enceladus, in October and December of 2015, are all that remains on the docket for detailed exploration of Saturn's medium-sized moons.
We're nearing the end of this historic expedition. Let's enjoy the finale while we can.
About the image in this post:
This raw, unprocessed image of Rhea was taken on March 9, 2013 and received on Earth March 10, 2013. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 62880 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters. The image has not been validated or calibrated. A validated/calibrated image will be archived with the Planetary Data System in 2014.
The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.