NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / color composite by Gordan Ugarkovic
Iapetus in color
This portrait of Iapetus is from Cassini's first encounter with the distant moon, on 31 December 2004, just before the Huygens descent. The flyby produced astonishing views of the moon, revealing its "belly band" of mountains as well as several previously undiscovered giant impact basins. The image is an approximately natural color mosaic taken at a distance of about 173,000 kilometers. The mosaic consists of two footprints which were the only ones where multispectral coverage exists at this point in the mission.