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Rhea's fractured terrain in three dimensions



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Rhea's fractured terrain in three dimensions
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Wispy fractures cut through cratered terrain on Saturn's moon Rhea (1,528 kilometres in diametre) in this high-resolution anaglyph, or three-dimensional, image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft which shows a level of detail not seen previously.

This three-dimensional view is a mosaic composed of 11 different black and white images. Although Rhea's surface is mostly densely cratered, indicating little geological evolution, the area depicted in this image tells a different story through evidence of tectonic activity. A set of closely spaced, linear to sinuous troughs and scarps with intervening uplifted blocks cuts through older, densely cratered plains. While the densely cratered plains imply that Rhea has not experienced much internally-driven activity since its early history, these imaging data suggests that tectonic stress has been active at much later times at least in some regions.

Troughs and other fault topography cut through the two largest craters in the scene which have a low frequency of superimposed smaller craters, indicating that these craters are comparably young, as well as the tectonic forms transecting their rims and floors. The fractures seen here reach depths of as much as 4 kilometres. In some places, material has moved down-slope along the scarps and accumulated on the flatter floors.

The images have a scale of 140 metres per pixel. The anaglyph is centered at 12°N, 273°W, the trailing hemisphere of Rhea. The images were taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on 21 November, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 25,000 kilometres from Rhea.
Credit: NASA/JPL/SSI/DLR.
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