Latest Equatorial ridge Stories
Extensive analyses and modeling of Cassini imaging and heat-mapping data have confirmed and extended previous ideas that migrating ice, triggered by infalling reddish dust that darkens and warms the surface, may explain the mysterious two-toned "yin-yang" appearance of Saturn's moon Iapetus.
Astronomers have theorized that the unexplained terrain on one of Saturn's icy moons might have happened when the moon went from a relatively fast-spinning body to one spinning more slowly.
Imaging scientists on NASA's Cassini mission are telling a tale of how the small moons orbiting near the outer rings of Saturn came to be. The moons began as leftover shards from larger bodies that broke apart and filled out their "figures" with the debris that made the rings.
Cassini will make its only close flyby of Saturn's odd, two-toned, walnut-shaped moon Iapetus on Sept. 10, 2007, at about 1,640 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the surface.
Saturn's distinctive moon Iapetus is cryogenically frozen in the equivalent of its teenage years. The moon has retained the youthful figure and bulging waistline it sported more than three billion years ago.
Images returned by NASA's Cassini spacecraft cameras during a New Year's Eve flyby of Saturn's moon Iapetus (eye-APP-eh- tuss) show startling surface features that are fueling heated scientific discussions about their origin.