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Saturn's Moon Iapetus Is the Yin-and-Yang of the Solar System
jpl.nasa ^ | September 12, 2007

Posted on 09/17/2007 10:10:17 AM PDT by LRS

PASADENA, Calif. – Scientists on the Cassini mission to Saturn are poring through hundreds of images returned from the Sept. 10 flyby of Saturn's two-toned moon Iapetus. Pictures returned late Tuesday and early Wednesday show the moon's yin and yang--a white hemisphere resembling snow, and the other as black as tar.

Images show a surface that is heavily cratered, along with the mountain ridge that runs along the moon's equator. Many of the close-up observations focused on studying the strange 20-kilometer high (12 mile) mountain ridge that gives the moon a walnut-shaped appearance.

"The images are really stunning," said Tilmann Denk, Cassini imaging scientist at the Free University in Berlin, Germany, who was responsible for the imaging observation planning. "Every new picture contained its own charm. I was most pleased about the images showing huge mountains rising over the horizon. I knew about this scenic viewing opportunity for more than seven years, and now the real images suddenly materialized."

This flyby was nearly 100 times closer to Iapetus than Cassini's 2004 flyby, bringing the spacecraft to about 1,640 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the surface. The moon's irregular walnut shape, the mountain ridge that lies almost directly on the equator and Iapetus' brightness contrast are among the key mysteries scientists are trying to solve.

"There's never a dull moment on this mission," said Bob Mitchell, Cassini program manager, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We are very excited about the stunning images being returned. There's plenty here to keep many scientists busy for many years."

"Our flight over the surface of Iapetus was like a non-stop free fall, down the rabbit hole, directly into Wonderland! Very few places in our solar system are more bizarre than the patchwork of pitch dark and snowy bright we've seen on this moon," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

The return of images and other data was delayed early Tuesday due to a galactic cosmic ray hit which put the spacecraft into a precautionary state called safe mode. This occurred after the spacecraft had placed all of the flyby data on its data recorders and during the first few minutes after it began sending the data home. The data flow resumed later that day and concluded on Wednesday. The spacecraft is operating normally and its instruments are expected to return to normal operations in a few days.

"Iapetus provides us a window back in time, to the formation of the planets over four billion years ago. Since then its icy crust has been cold and stiff, preserving this ancient surface for our study," said Torrence Johnson, Cassini imaging team member at JPL.

Cassini's multiple observations of Iapetus will help to characterize the chemical composition of the surface; look for evidence of a faint atmosphere or erupting gas plumes; and map the nighttime temperature of the surface. These and other results will be analyzed in the weeks to come.

Iapetus flyby images are available at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://ciclops.org.


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: cassini; catastrophism; huygens; iapetus; moon; moons; satellite; satellites; saturn; space; titan

1 posted on 09/17/2007 10:10:21 AM PDT by LRS
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To: KevinDavis

ping


2 posted on 09/17/2007 10:12:01 AM PDT by Vaquero (" an armed society is a polite society" Heinlein "MOLON LABE!" Leonidas of Sparta)
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To: LRS
(Forgot to include some pics)

"You got chocolate on my peanutbutter!"

"You got peanutbutter on my chocolate!"


3 posted on 09/17/2007 10:13:19 AM PDT by LRS
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To: LRS

Galactic cosmic ray?...................


4 posted on 09/17/2007 10:14:08 AM PDT by Red Badger (ALL that CARBON in ALL that oil & coal was once in the atmospere. We're just putting it back!)
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To: LRS

They ain't foolin' me any! That a close up of an Oreo Ice Cream!................

5 posted on 09/17/2007 10:15:45 AM PDT by Red Badger (ALL that CARBON in ALL that oil & coal was once in the atmospere. We're just putting it back!)
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To: Red Badger

LOL!

That is one strange place!


6 posted on 09/17/2007 10:17:10 AM PDT by LRS
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To: LRS
Sprinkle a little cosmic linking dust, and voila:

Iapetus flyby images are available at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://ciclops.org.

7 posted on 09/17/2007 10:17:59 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: LRS

Does anybody else see an eagle in one of the pix?

.....Bob


8 posted on 09/17/2007 10:21:39 AM PDT by Lokibob (Some people are like slinkys. Useless, but if you throw them down the stairs, you smile.)
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To: LRS
Looks like a giant walnut. Interesting that the dark areas are on the sunlight fringe. Must be some volatiles acting up.


9 posted on 09/17/2007 10:25:32 AM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Lokibob
Does anybody else see an eagle in one of the pix?


10 posted on 09/17/2007 10:26:58 AM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Zuben Elgenubi
There were closeups of that odd equatorial ring at wired.com but I couldn’t post the article due to copyright complaint.
11 posted on 09/17/2007 10:37:55 AM PDT by BenLurkin
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related:

Arthur Clarke’s Video Greeting for Cassini’s Iapetus Flyby
Cassini-Huygens Home Page | September 10, 2007 | Arthur C. Clarke (NASA)
Posted on 09/17/2007 12:37:15 PM EDT by cogitator
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1897866/posts


12 posted on 09/17/2007 10:40:52 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: LRS

Looks like they got pictures out the yin-yang LOL.


13 posted on 09/17/2007 10:41:58 AM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

Legless, armless man, after the steamroller got him.


14 posted on 09/17/2007 10:42:07 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks! I hadn’t seen that. Clarke’s comments were interesting. The Saturian system has proven far more fascinating than anyone imagined, and he has quite an imagination...


15 posted on 09/17/2007 10:54:05 AM PDT by LRS
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To: 75thOVI; AFPhys; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; ...
 
Catastrophism
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·

16 posted on 09/17/2007 11:05:14 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

That’s either The Predator or a Viking Kitty....;o]


17 posted on 09/17/2007 11:12:06 AM PDT by Monkey Face (If you didn't know how old you are, how old would you be?)
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To: SunkenCiv

Strange stuff!


18 posted on 09/17/2007 11:13:32 AM PDT by Monkey Face (If you didn't know how old you are, how old would you be?)
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To: LRS

:’)


19 posted on 09/17/2007 11:23:03 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Monkey Face

:’)


20 posted on 09/17/2007 11:29:01 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

Obviously 2 Ubangees of the Shrillery variety kissing just before . . .


21 posted on 09/17/2007 11:58:49 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: Monkey Face

oooo. Good one.


22 posted on 09/17/2007 2:15:24 PM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

;o])


23 posted on 09/17/2007 3:09:47 PM PDT by Monkey Face (If you didn't know how old you are, how old would you be?)
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An fighter airplane with pincers, and a chanting guy with arms outstretched and a doubled-ended Egyptian crownish thingy on the guy’s head. Fat, fire-breathing babies in the upper corners? Young children with downward arm on either side in the middle. Upside down chimera with a smoker’s head and some paddle-tailed animal’s body (such as a platypus).


24 posted on 09/17/2007 4:41:57 PM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
A fighter airplane (or an airplane fighter).

And the guy's in a sort of lotus position or 'Indian style.'

25 posted on 09/17/2007 4:43:06 PM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
And the guy's in a sort of lotus position or 'Indian style.'

That's what I see.

26 posted on 09/17/2007 5:32:48 PM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

Quit posting dirty pictures.


27 posted on 09/17/2007 10:09:18 PM PDT by PAR35
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http://wanderingspace.net/?cat=30
http://wanderingspace.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/2560x1600_set01.thumbnail.jpg
http://wanderingspace.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/hyperion.thumbnail.jpg

Hyperion is an irregularly shaped moon and like most of these was thought to be a “captured” moon of Saturn, which is an object that strays too close to a larger body and is pulled into its orbit. Soon other theories suggested that perhaps it was a single fragment of some larger body which was largely destroyed and perhaps is what littered Iapetus with its darker material. Now, closer observations show us that much of Hyperion’s interior is hollow space... or nothing... which could mean that Hyperion is actually a collection of smaller fragments of ice and some rock which over time pulled itself together to form Hyperion. In other words an orbiting pile of rubble.


28 posted on 09/17/2007 10:44:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Fred Nerks

http://wanderingspace.net/?cat=29
http://wanderingspace.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/iapetusridge3148km.thumbnail.jpg

The ridge at Iapetus’s equator from only 3,148 km. The black and white nature of Iapetus is only one of its [bizarre] traits, the other is the huge mountain range that runs almost completely around its equator. This the feature that often causes the mainstream media to compare the moon to a walnut.


29 posted on 09/17/2007 10:46:28 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: LRS; SunkenCiv

The images show a giant landslide from a 15km-high scarp

I think it's cracked!

30 posted on 09/18/2007 12:36:01 AM PDT by Fred Nerks (Fair dinkum!)
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To: PAR35

LOL


31 posted on 09/18/2007 5:53:02 AM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Fred Nerks

A big crater on the rim of an older, much bigger crater. :’)


32 posted on 09/18/2007 6:47:46 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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reprise.
Arthur C. Clarke Stands By His Belief in Life on Mars
by Leonard David
Clarke spoke last night, June 6, via phone from his home in Sri Lanka as key speaker in the Wernher von Braun Memorial Lecture series held here at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Pouring over images on his home computer taken by the now-orbiting Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), Clarke said that there are signs of vegetation evident in the photos. Clarke repeated several times that he was serious about his observations, pointing out that he sees something akin to Banyan trees in some MGS photos.

33 posted on 09/18/2007 6:49:31 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Yep. You’re right...


34 posted on 09/18/2007 2:00:44 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Fair dinkum!)
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