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Space Science

First Images From 50-km Enceladus Flyby 95

CheshireCatCO writes "The first pictures from yesterday's flyby of Enceladus are now public. At closest approach, Cassini was set spinning to cancel out the apparent motion of Enceladus so as to capture unsmeared images during the 40,000-mph flyby. Although it wasn't clear that this would work (errors in pointing could easily have made the cameras miss their targets), the maneuver panned out beautifully, producing spectacular images of the surface. Images show the 'tiger stripes' at the south pole, including at least one location that has been identified as a source of a jet, as well as considerable vertical relief, easily visible thanks to the low sun-angle near the south pole at present. Processed, enhanced images should follow shortly."
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First Images From 50-km Enceladus Flyby

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  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:34AM (#24579571) Homepage

    At first glance I thought these pics would be better if they were further back to get an idea of scale.

    Then noticed that the pictures are marked anywhere from 33 to 98 feet PER PIXEL. these pictures actually have quite alot of land below, and I think it's just the nature of the resolution and shot that make it look like its a much smaller scale.

    I'm glad there are scientists that study this that can make out alot more than I... but very happy this worked none-the-ess.

  • A pity (Score:4, Funny)

    by WetCat ( 558132 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:40AM (#24579615)

    I see no towns and roads...

    • Re:A pity (Score:5, Funny)

      by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:41AM (#24579895)

      Patience dude, Google Street View hasn't even finished Mars yet!

      • I swear, if Google Street View is available for Mars before Seattle, I will preempt Steve Ballmer and go and kill Google myself.

        /throws chair
    • Re:A pity (Score:4, Funny)

      by RuBLed ( 995686 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:02AM (#24579949)
      You are too optimistic. (you heard me right) I suggest you look carefully at the pictures because of the obvious visibility of off-road SUV tracks. There is also some kind of a silhouette on the 5th picture, it looks like a man, possibly Elvis.
      • The last picture has a large fissure across the center with a small sharply defined fissure barnching off and pointing NNE. At the end of the branch there is a giant fish head frozen in the ice.
    • Roads!? Where we're going, we don't NEED roads...
  • NASA site and images (Score:5, Informative)

    by gzipped_tar ( 1151931 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:45AM (#24579635) Journal []
    This is the NASA page for the raw images from the flyby.
  • Already Slashdotted? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Snowblindeye ( 1085701 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:45AM (#24579637)
    The Ciclops site seems to be unresponsive already. Nasa's coverage can be found here []
  • by Kligat ( 1244968 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:52AM (#24579681)

    For comparison, when the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter [] took photos of the Martian moon Phobos, it did so at a 6.8m=1 pixel scale, which came out to a 3,374 by 3,300 pixel image for one side. If a scale of 20.2m=1 pixel on average is assumed on average for these, then a picture of the whole thing like would be about 22,074 by 22,074 pixels, or 487 megapixels. That's assuming they didn't even do the same locations twice from different angles or something.

    Does this mean I'll be able to switch from Phobos to Enceladus as my desktop background soon?

  • by irbdavid ( 756585 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:40AM (#24579891) Homepage
    (although not on the imaging/planetary science side of things), it's important to note how incredibly successful Cassini-Huygens has been. Projects such as Cassini are where the 'space' budget needs to be spent, not on trinkets like the International Space Station.
    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:43AM (#24580675)
      Even if the ISS appears to be a black hole for money, it does bring some collaberation between different space agencies and it also is a needed first step towards setting up more permanent (and useful) space bases.
      • Cassini is an international mission as well. Except that in this case, our international partners aren't backing out of their obligations and making us foot the bill.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by speedtux ( 1307149 )

        What's "useful" about space bases? Why does putting a bunch of smelly humans into a can and orbiting them around earth help science or mankind?

        • As the devil's advocate, the first example that comes to mind: Material physics labs.

          Note: I support unmanned exploration of the solar system and wish it to be expanded.

          • As the devil's advocate, the first example that comes to mind: Material physics labs.

            You can do that with telepresence.

            If we had invested the money we wasted on manned space flight in robotics, we'd have a large part of the solar system explored already.

            And any future manned mission will require extensive robotic support anyway. For example, even a Mars mission will require robotic landers that prepare habitats and collect fuel.

            Spending money on sending people into space with the primitive technologies we

      • Yep. Science and engineering proceeds forward - even in the absence of pretty pictures.

  • Does anyone else think they saw a few that look like the head of a cartoon character ?
  • the moving camera calcs "panned" out - I get it.

    (and yes, I know "panned out" is a reference to gold prospecting. calm down.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you see fireworks in the photos, they are probably photoshopped.

  • Yummy. (Score:3, Funny)

    by kiehlster ( 844523 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:06AM (#24580829) Homepage
    Enchiladas flyby. A dream come true. Oh wait...
  • by consonant ( 896763 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .n.tnakirhs.> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:13AM (#24580885) Homepage
    that's the whole Enceladus..
  • I see cliff dwellings in this picture [].
    • I don't, but there is a building clearly visible in this picture [].
      • I think I see it. Is it white and geodesic in shape? Definitely alien in design and construction. Note the high perch - they must either fly, have extremely long legs for their body size, or are obsessed with defensive measures. Perhaps they're the aliens that invaded the US government and started the TSA.
  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:36AM (#24581945)

    as a drive-by shooting?

  • Looks like a Sobel operator output..

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein