New Delhi: NASA's Cassini mission is currently on its last leg and is inching toward its graceful finish in 2017. At present, the spacecraft is performing flybys of the planet Saturn, making its closest approaches to the rings.
Since the time it was launched in space in 1997, Cassini has been successfully delivering amazingly informative insights into the evolution and structure of the ringed planet. Through its adept phototgraphy abilities, the spacecraft has also sent back stunning images of Saturn, which have also helped divulge numerous secrets of the planet and its moons.
Now, NASA has released another image beamed back by Cassini, which shows Saturn's moon Mimas up close, near the planet's rings,
In the image, it looks as if Mimas is about to crash into the rings, however, NASA says that Mimas is actually 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) away from them.
Highlighting the strong connection between the icy moon and Saturn's rings, NASA explained that gravity links them together and shapes the way they both move.
The gravitational pull of Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across) creates waves in Saturn's rings that are visible in some Cassini images. Mimas' gravity also helps create the Cassini Division (not pictured here), which separates the A and B rings.
This view looks toward the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Mimas. North on Mimas is up and rotated 15 degrees to the right. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on October 23, 2016, NASA explained.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 114,000 miles (183,000 kilometers) from Mimas and at a Sun-Mimas-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 29 degrees. Image scale is 3,300 feet (1 kilometer) per pixel.