Sunday, September 16, 2007

Our Walnut Neighbor and what's Big in Japan

The Cassini probe just flew by one of the coolest rocks in our solar system – Saturn's moon Iapetus – on September 10th. There are dozens of images from this flyby, which can be found at the website for Cassini's imaging team. For your viewing pleasure, here is a mosaic of many of the images.

And one of the little ridge that encircles the planet:

The images of Iapetus should allow us to better understand some of its rather bizarre features, like the ridge in the middle, and the fact that half of it is pitch black while the other is snowy white, kinda like a cosmic yin-yang. Cassini has returned images from Saturn during the past few months, and another part of the mission involved a probe crash-landeding on Titan to discern the chemical makeup of that moon of Saturn. All of these astounding images can be found at the link above, and the Planetary Society has been doing some good analysis and publicity for this mission.

In other space news, the Moon is big in Japan (ar, ar) as their probe Kayuga is underway to our rocky companion. More on what it will be doing on the moon can be found here. Briefly it will be on the Moon to study its evolution and history, and provide data for future studies and usages of said satellite. Also, here is the coolest diagram I have ever seen about the possible origin of the Moon. I love the little star above the Earth's head when it gets konked!!!

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