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Take a good look at Saturn's Moon Iapetus.


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Take a good look at Saturn's Moon Iapetus.
Take a good look at Saturn's Moon Iapetus.

Did Iapetus Consume One of Saturn's Rings?

Take a good look at Saturn's Moon Iapetus and it has a few striking features that set it apart from every other object in the solar system. For one thing, it seems to have two faces: one white, like freshly fallen snow, and the other dark like volcanic rock. But even stranger, Iapetus has a seam. Right at the equator, and going halfway around the planet, it's probably 20 km (12 miles) high - as if the Moon was cut in half and then smashed back together. Planetary geologists have assumed this seam is volcanic in origin, but Paulo C.C. Freire of the Arecibo Observatory has another suggestion. In the distant past, Iapetus gobbled up one of Saturn's rings.

Dione and Tethys two of Saturn's moons.

Cassini took this image of two of Saturn's moons, Dione and Tethys, perched together near the planet's rings. Dione is the upper Moon in the picture, and occults part of Saturn's rings. This image shows the contrast between the moons: Dione looks much smoother than Tethys' crater battered surface. The photo was taken on March 19, 2005, when Cassini was approximately 2.7 million km (1.7 million miles) from Saturn.

First MARSIS Boom Fixed.

After a brief glitch last week, the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has successfully deployed the first of its MARSIS booms to its full length. The 20 metre (66 foot) boom is composed of 13 segments, but one joint didn't fully lock into place. Controllers turned the cold side of the boom into the Sun, which heated it up, and forced it into place. With the first boom complete, controllers will extend its two additional booms within a few weeks, so Mars Express can begin searching for underground sources of water.

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