Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 9, 2013

Older than Time...
Older than Time...

Credits: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

The NASA - Cassini Spacecraft looks down upon Rhea, whose extremely tormented Surface was already ancient (---> heavily cratered and cracked) a long time before any complex lifeform could have even started developping on our Home Planet Earth. As a matter of fact, the Terrain seen visible here has probably changed just a very little bit, in the past two or three billion years (!).

This view shows a Region that is located on the Saturn-facing Hemisphere of Rhea; North is up. The image was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on March 21, 2006, at a distance of approximately 94.000 Km (such as about 58.374 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-Cassini Spacecraft (or "Phase") Angle of 109°. The image scale is about 558 mt (such as approx. 1832 feet) per pixel

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 08173) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Surface and Limb of the Saturnian moon Rhea), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Rhea, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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