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Saturn's Death Star Moon: Mimas.

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Saturn's Moon Mimas.
Saturn's Death Star Moon: Mimas: Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI.

Cassini returned this image of Saturn's Moon Mimas, which looks surprisingly similar to the Death star from star Wars. Mimas is 398 km (247 miles) across, and that's not a superlaser you see, but a giant crater called Herschel, which is a third the size of the Moon itself. Cassini took this image on July 3, 2004, when the spacecraft was 1.7 million km (1 millions miles) away. Cassini will get a better view on August 2, 2005, when the spacecraft makes a distant flyby of heavily cratered moon.

Soon after orbital insertion, Cassini returned its best look yet at heavily cratered Mimas (398 kilometers, 247 miles across). The enormous crater at the top of this image, named Herschel, is about 130 kilometers (80 miles) wide and 10 kilometers (6 miles) deep.

The image was taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on July 3, 2004, from a distance of 1.7 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Mimas and at a Sun-Mimas-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 102 degrees. The image scale is 10 kilometers (6 miles) per pixel. It has been magnified here by a factor of 2 to aid visibility.

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 Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

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