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>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, January 17th

    Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, January 17th

    Thursday, January 18 2018 2:00 AM EST2018-01-18 07:00:11 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, January 17th.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, January 17th.

    More >>
  • Spain, Portugal seize cocaine smuggled inside pineapples

    Spain, Portugal seize cocaine smuggled inside pineapples

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 11:31 PM EST2018-01-18 04:31:35 GMT
    @policia (Policia Nacional twitter)@policia (Policia Nacional twitter)

    LISBON, Portugal - Spanish and Portuguese police say a joint operation resulted in the seizure of hundreds of pounds of cocaine concealed inside crates of fresh pineapples. According to News 24, The Iberian police forces arrested nine members of an international smuggling ring that transported the drug from South America. The seizure was part of an ongoing investigation across both countries that began in April of 2017.  Aside from the more 

    More >>

    LISBON, Portugal - Spanish and Portuguese police say a joint operation resulted in the seizure of hundreds of pounds of cocaine concealed inside crates of fresh pineapples. According to News 24, The Iberian police forces arrested nine members of an international smuggling ring that transported the drug from South America. The seizure was part of an ongoing investigation across both countries that began in April of 2017.  Aside from the more 

    More >>
  • Indiana mom leaves kids alone in freezing car during lengthy job interview

    Indiana mom leaves kids alone in freezing car during lengthy job interview

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 9:18 PM EST2018-01-18 02:18:37 GMT

    INDIANAPOLIS - Despite the dangerously cold temperatures, Indianapolis Police say a mother left her two young children alone in a car for over an hour. According to FOX 59, the 26-year-old mother allegedly went into the Community Hospital North for a job interview, leaving behind her 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter until the two sought help.  According to a police report obtained by FOX 59, the temperature at the time was just 5 

    More >>

    INDIANAPOLIS - Despite the dangerously cold temperatures, Indianapolis Police say a mother left her two young children alone in a car for over an hour. According to FOX 59, the 26-year-old mother allegedly went into the Community Hospital North for a job interview, leaving behind her 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter until the two sought help.  According to a police report obtained by FOX 59, the temperature at the time was just 5 

    More >>