Wednesday, July 09, 2008

First Ringed Moon Discovered

NASA's Cassini mission to the Saturn system has uncovered another amazing find: rings around one of the gas giant's moons, reports Discover Magazine.

The moon, Rhea, has puzzled scientists. Not only should a moon not have the gravity needed to sustain rings, but Saturn's gravity should have pulled them away. That is, unless the rings formed recently. "It may be that the debris was kicked off recently enough that Saturn has not yet had a chance to destabilize it."

Cassini has already moved on, but it will be back to gather more data from Rhea in 2010.

Some of Pound360's past coverage of the Cassini mission:
‘Earth-Like’ Moon May Have Underground Ocean
Researchers Describe 'Chaotic' Saturn System
Space Probe Makes Daring Maneuver in Search of Life
Malfunction 'Undermines' Cassini's Bold Maneuver

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.