Saturn’s Moons: Voyager vs. Cassini Images

Since Voyager 1 and 2 passed by Saturn in 1980 and 1981 respectively, scientists have wanted more information about the many amazing icy moons that orbit the gas giant.  The follow up mission to Saturn, Cassini, has been in orbit around the planet for over a decade, and has since mapped the icy moons in their entirety.  Take a look at some of the Voyager images and how they compare to the new colour maps from Cassini.  I should note that the colours in the Cassini images are beyond human vision, extending into infrared and ultraviolet to add some further detail.

Voyager Map of Mimas Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Cassini Map of Mimas Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Voyager Map of Enceladus Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Cassini Map of Enceladus Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Voyager Map of Tethys Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Cassini Map of Tethys Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Voyager Map of Dione Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Cassini Map of Dione Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Voyager Map of Rhea Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Cassini Map of Rhea Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Voyager Map of Iapetus Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI
Cassini Map of Iapetus Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/LPI

The current generation of space exploration is the follow up to the initial exploration missions, and the leaps in understanding have been tremendous.  Will the third generation of craft to travel to distant worlds give us the same leap in insight and understanding? Will we finally understand the geology and evolution of our solar system community? Slowly but surely each discovery adds to the puzzle of the formation and evolution of our entire solar system, and will someday answer the deep question of where we came from.

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