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The Moon is generally very dark in colouration.
This incredibly detailed image of Phoebe was taken when Cassini was only 12,000 km (7,400 miles) away from the small moon. It shows a 13-km (8-mile) diameter crater with building-sized rocks and other debris on its floor. There are additional craters visible in the image as well. The Moon is generally very dark in colouration, but the brighter spots were probably caused by small meteorites that excavated the dark surface to show the lighter coloured ice below. Images that were taken when the spacecraft was even closer to Phoebe are still coming.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its first close encounter with the Saturnian system on June 11 when it swept past Phoebe. The spacecraft got as close as 2,000 km (1,240 miles) to the small moon, and saw incredible details on its smashed up surface. The evidence is starting to show that Phoebe may be an ice-rich body coated with a thin layer of dark material. Instruments on board Cassini will measure the moon's density to get a better sense about how much of it is composed of ice. Cassini will reach Saturn on June 30.
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