Our Last Stunning Close-Up of Saturn's 'Death Star Moon' 

By Rae Paoletta on at

Saturn’s mysterious moon Mimas is a fan favourite for obvious reasons — the heavily cratered world looks eerily similar to the Death Star from Star Wars. The moon’s iconic Herschel Crater, at roughly 81 miles across, makes it a dead ringer for George Lucas’ iconic weapon of mass destruction.

On January 30th, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft swooped close to Mimas for the last time in its mission — and while Cassini’s goodbye tour has been full of excellent images, this one of Mimas is particularly exquisite.

This mosaic — taken roughly 28,000 miles from the moon itself — was created by combining 10 images from Cassini’s narrow-angle camera. But the mood lighting provided here was all Saturn. Saturn’s all about ambiance.

In September, Cassini will end its 20-year-long mission when it plunges itself into Saturn’s atmosphere. Until then, we can expect more fantastic images of Saturn’s bizarre moons. But none will replace the Death Star-shaped void in our hearts. [NASA]