Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nasa's Cassini probe reveals that Saturn's moon Phoebe has more planet-like qualities than previously thought

Some of the secrets of Saturn’s pock-marked moon Phoebe have been revealed, with Nasa scientists discovering that it is actually remarkably planet-like.

Thanks to data beamed back from the agency’s Cassini probe, which has been loitering nearby, astronomers now know that the moon is far rounder than previously thought.

What’s more, they believe that the moon may have actually been warm for tens of millions of years – and probably hosted water.

Scientists had their first close-up look at Phoebe when Cassini began exploring the Saturn system in 2004.

Using data from multiple spacecraft instruments and a computer model of the moon's chemistry, geophysics and geology, scientists found Phoebe was a so-called planetesimal, or remnant planetary building block. Read More