Expect to see some stunning images of Hyperion – Saturn’s odd, tumbling moon – soon as NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its final fly-by of the spongy moon on Sunday.
According to the US space agency, the Cassini spacecraft was positioned at a distance of about 34,000 km from Hyperion.
Mission scientists hope to see different terrain on Hyperion than the mission has previously explored during the encounter.
The 168-mile or 267-km wide Hyperion rotates chaotically, tumbling unpredictably through space as it orbits Saturn.
The moons’ body has a very low density and weak gravitational field, making a close fly-by easier than with other moons.
Its low density makes Hyperion quite porous, with weak surface gravity.
So far, most of Cassini’s previous fly-bys have encountered more or less the same familiar side of the odd moon.
The Cassini mission was launched in 2004 to study Saturn and its moons.
On June 16, Cassini is expected to fly-by Saturn’s icy Dione moon and in October, it will make two close passes of the active moon Enceladus.