NASA Spacecraft Snaps Last Close-Up Photos Of Icy Saturn Moon - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

NASA Spacecraft Snaps Last Close-Up Photos Of Icy Saturn Moon

Posted: Updated:

YAHOO.COM - NASA's Cassini spacecraft has snapped its last up-close photos of Saturn's icy moon Rhea, revealing a battered satellite covered in craters from violent impacts.

Cassini took the amazing new photos of Rhea on Saturday (March 9) during its fourth and final planned encounter with the Saturn moon. During the encounter, the probe flew within just 620 miles (997 kilometers) of Rhea, which is Saturn's second-largest satellite."Take a good, long, luxurious look at these sights from another world, as they will be the last close-ups you'll ever see of this particular moon," Cassini imaging team lead Carolyn Porco, of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said in a statement accompanying the photos.

Saturday's flyby was designed primarily to measure Rhea's gravity field, mission scientists said. But Cassini also managed to take 12 pictures of the frigid moon's battered, pockmarked surface, including one that showcases a mysterious long, curving fracture called a graben.

Rhea is the second-largest of Saturn's 60-odd known moons, with a diameter of 949 miles (1528 km). It's far smaller than the ringed planet's biggest natural satellite, Titan, which at 3,200 miles (5,150 km) across is nearly 50 percent wider than Earth's moon.

Rhea was discovered in 1672 by the mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who gave his name to the NASA mission currently studying the Saturn system.

In 2010, researchers determined that the moon has a wispy atmosphere dominated by oxygen and carbon dioxide. The oxygen likely was blasted free from water ice on Rhea's surface by charged particles streaming from Saturn, scientists say, but the origin of the carbon dioxide is more mysterious.

The Cassini mission — a joint effort involving NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency — launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004. It has been studying the ringed planet and its many moons ever since, and will continue to do so on an extended mission until at least 2017.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • The Latest: Shooting survivors want more armed security

    The Latest: Shooting survivors want more armed security

    Thursday, May 24 2018 11:42 PM EDT2018-05-25 03:42:36 GMT
    MSNBCMSNBC
    MSNBCMSNBC

    AUSTIN, Tex. (AP) - The Latest on meetings being held by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott following the mass shooting at a high school near Houston (all times local): 6:50 p.m. Several students who survived last week's school shooting at a Texas high school told Gov. Greg Abbott they want more armed security and armed teachers to help prevent future attacks. Metal detectors outside schools and better mental health services and counseling were also brought up during the...

    More >>

    AUSTIN, Tex. (AP) - The Latest on meetings being held by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott following the mass shooting at a high school near Houston (all times local): 6:50 p.m. Several students who survived last week's school shooting at a Texas high school told Gov. Greg Abbott they want more armed security and armed teachers to help prevent future attacks. Metal detectors outside schools and better mental health services and counseling were also brought up during the...

    More >>
  • 30-year-old man evicted from parents' New York home must leave by June 1

    30-year-old man evicted from parents' New York home must leave by June 1

    Thursday, May 24 2018 7:37 PM EDT2018-05-24 23:37:51 GMT
    NBC NewsNBC News
    NBC NewsNBC News

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - A court order says a 30-year-old upstate New York man who was evicted from his parents' house must move out by noon on June 1. State Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood signed the order on Thursday. It sets a hard deadline for Michael Rotondo to peacefully leave his parents' home in Camillus (kuh-MIHL'-us) before county sheriffs can be called in to forcibly remove him. Rotondo had asked for at least 30 days to leave, arguing for a full ...

    More >>

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - A court order says a 30-year-old upstate New York man who was evicted from his parents' house must move out by noon on June 1. State Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood signed the order on Thursday. It sets a hard deadline for Michael Rotondo to peacefully leave his parents' home in Camillus (kuh-MIHL'-us) before county sheriffs can be called in to forcibly remove him. Rotondo had asked for at least 30 days to leave, arguing for a full ...

    More >>
  • Missouri teen barred from graduation after school sale prank

    Missouri teen barred from graduation after school sale prank

    Thursday, May 24 2018 7:31 PM EDT2018-05-24 23:31:38 GMT

    INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - An 18-year-old who put his suburban Kansas City high school for sale on Craigslist has been banned from graduation after the senior prank went awry.  The Kansas City Star reports Kylan Scheele listed Truman High School in Independence, Missouri, for the bargain price of $12,275 last week. Problems arose when someone reported the posting as a possible threat because of Scheele's choice of wording.  He wrote that the reason for the sale 

    More >>

    INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - An 18-year-old who put his suburban Kansas City high school for sale on Craigslist has been banned from graduation after the senior prank went awry.  The Kansas City Star reports Kylan Scheele listed Truman High School in Independence, Missouri, for the bargain price of $12,275 last week. Problems arose when someone reported the posting as a possible threat because of Scheele's choice of wording.  He wrote that the reason for the sale 

    More >>