‘Ice Queen’ Helene close-up

The Cassini spacecraft has just returned some beautiful new close-up photos of the tiny Saturnian moon Helene, a rather odd-looking little world (click on image for larger view)…

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The dust landslides (as theorized) producing the gully-like features are very prominent in this view, as is the mottled-looking terrain of smooth areas and darker areas, making the moon appear almost like a 3-D piece of abstract art.

More images are here.

Note: Helene is named after Helen of Troy, but I’m not sure where NASA’s nickname of “ice queen” came from exactly, although Helene, like some other small moons, is thought to be made mostly of rock-hard water ice.