NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured one of the highest resolution images of Epimetheus, a small moon of Saturn. The image shows the far side of the moon, the region that is not facing Saturn. The image was captured with the narrow angle camera on Cassini, with a spectral filter that only lets in light in the near infrared wavelengths. Cassini was 15,000 kilometers away from Epimetheus when the image was captured.
Epimetheus measures only 113 kilometers across and is too small to be geologically active, or maintain an atmosphere. The craters and features on the surface cannot change unless they are bombarded with additional meteor impacts. The pockmarked surface serves as a stark reminder of the hazards in space. Cassini has completed 12 of its 22 planned grand finale dives, which is a series of orbits where the spacecraft navigate the space between the gas giant and its innermost rings.
The Cassini probe is a joint mission by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. Cassini has been a constant companion of Saturn for 13 years, and at the end of its mission, it will fly into the gas giant, burning up in the atmosphere. The spacecraft will be beaming back scientific data till the last moments of its existence.