Cassini pinpoints source of icy jets on Enceladus
The geysers originate from fractures running along the moon's south pole, known as Sulci, and appear to be spurting out water vapour at approximately 400 metres per second (800 mph). The images show the fractures are about 300 meters (980 feet) deep, with V-shaped inner walls. Some of the fractures show extensive deposits of fine material on each side, and the terrain around the fractures appears to be littered with blocks of ice tens of metres in size and larger - that's about the size of a small house.
The recent flyby saw the spacecraft pass within 50 kilometres (30 miles) of the moon's surface at a speed of 64,000 kilometres per hour (40,000 miles per hour). In order to obtain clear images, the NASA team had to spin the spacecraft in the direction of the planet's travel to counteract the fast motion of the region through the camera's viewfinder. The results speak for themselves and show the most detailed images of Enceladus to date.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn, click here.