Crescent Rhea viewed by Voyager 1 in November 1980 from 580,000 kilometers.
This image includes the only view obtained of the 375-kilometer wide
impact basin Tirawa, partially seen near the top of the crescent.
Rhea, the fifth major satellite of Saturn, may be one of the most heavily
cratered satellites in the solar system. Its surface appears to be
saturated with craters, but long, bright linear features can be seen on the
trailing hemisphere and linear ridges can be seen in the leading hemisphere.
These ancient features may record changes in Rhea's shape due to internal
heating or cooling.
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Distant View of Rhea
Obtained by Voyager 1 in November 1980,
this image shows the important features of Rhea. Craters of many sizes
are seen, as are a number of bright linear features. They appear to be extensional
fractures, and suggest that Rhea has expanded a few percent in size, perhaps due to freezing
of water ice in the interior. Similar linear features occur on Dione.
High-resolution View of Rhea
This seven-image mosaic is centered on the north pole of Rhea. The rugged,
cratered topography is obvious. Several linear troughs or fractures
are also visible, at top and bottom. These were among the highest-resolution images obtained of any icy satellite, with resolutions
of about 500 meters (image shown here at 1-kilometer resolution due to large size).
Rhea in 3-D
This stereo view of a portion of Rhea reveals the heavily cratered
terrain of this small satellite. No smooth areas can be seen between
the innumerable craters. If Rhea ever was volcanically active, this must have
occurred very early in its history and any record obliterated by repeat impact
All images by Paul M. Schenk, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX.
©Lunar and Planetary Institute, 1997
Supplemental Reading Materials
Moore J. et al. (1985) Geomorphology of Rhea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 90, C785-C795.