Cassini captured this striking view of Saturn’s moon Dione on July 23, 2012. Dione is about 698 miles (1,123 kilometers) across. Its density suggests that about a third of the moon is made up of a dense core (probably silicate rock) with the remainder of its material being water ice. At Dione’s average temperature of -304 degrees Fahrenheit (-186 degrees Celsius), ice is so hard it behaves like rock.
The image was taken with Cassini’s narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 260,000 miles (418,000 kilometers) from Dione, through a polarized filter and a spectral filter sensitive to green light.
The Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on September 15, 2017.
The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (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 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.