posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 12:55 PM
New images from the Saturn-bound Cassini probe have provided an unprecedented glimpse of Saturn's moon Phoebe. Based on the new evidence - including
what may be ice in the deep craters - scientists now believe that Phoebe was originally a comet, captured by Saturn's gravity millenia ago.
"Battered and beat-up as [Phoebe] is, it is still giving us clues to its origin and history," said Dr Torrence Johnson, an imaging team member from
the US space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, US.
Phoebe is thought to have an ice-rich layer overlain with a thin covering of darker material 300 to 500 metres (980 to 1,600 feet) thick.
"Based on our images, some of us are leaning towards the view that has been promoted recently, that Phoebe is probably ice-rich and may be an object
originating in the outer solar system, more related to comets and Kuiper Belt objects than to asteroids," said Dr Carolyn Porco, head of Cassini's
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
I think this is a great glimpse of the astonishing discoveries which Cassini will allow us to make - but for my money, the most exciting part of the
mission will be the arrival of the Huygens lander on Titan early in 2005.
Fascinating times ahead - keep watching the skies!
Additional link: Nasa's Cassini Page
[edit on 17-6-2004 by Banshee]