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The red streaks were faintly visible in early images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which swooped into the Saturn system in 2004. But it wasn’t until April that Cassini got a close look at the extraterrestrial artwork. Now, after a close flyby in November, scientists can peer even more closely at the smudges. And what they’re finding doesn’t make a lot of sense.
One thing is clear, though: The streaks are relatively young. Normally, dust from Saturn’s E ring and charged particles from space would erase the smudges. But they’re still there. And, they’re drawn on top of the Odysseus basin, meaning that the crater came first
When Schenk mapped the lines onto the moon’s surface, he saw a pattern suggesting the moon is being squeezed or deformed by some kind of global stress – such as irregular rotation, a shifting orbit, or the migration of its poles.