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Space & Astronomy

Saturn's Pan and Atlas baffle scientists

By T.K. Randall
March 20, 2011 · Comment icon 37 comments



Image Credit: CEA/ANIMEA
Two of Saturn's smaller moons have puzzled experts for some time due to their unusual shape.
At only 20 miles across the moons of Pan and Atlas are shaped more like a flying saucer than a conventional moon, but now scientists think they may have the answer after studying years worth of cosmic images.
They realised that 14 of Saturn's small moons had a very low density - about half that of water ice - and shapes that suggested they had grown out of the rings themselves. However, they would have needed a jump start as it is not gravitationally possible for small particles to fuse together within the rings.


Source: Daily Mail | Comments (37)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #28 Posted by OverSword 12 years ago
I don't feel I got any as*-ripping from them. I just see them addressing the evidence or its sources. I think the skeptics get a bad rap. I've spent a lot of time lurking, feeling out the social situations here, and I honestly believe they (EDIT: well, "most") aren't the evil Government Cheerleaders they get made out to be. Sure it would be nice if they would be more trusting of some pieces of particularly strong evidence but hey, if it ain't good enough then it ain't good enough. I think it would help a great deal if people didn't take their disagreements with evidence so personally. Believe ... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by -Djinn- 12 years ago
Why are these things getting so much attention? I would think that anything in space would throw up anomalies if you look at it close enough. What is so special about these? I would think that the size would make them similar to many many asteroids floating around our solar system.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Lcvec 12 years ago
It's funny, just yesterday I was reading an article about another weird moon of Saturn. It presented pretty good evidence for Iapetus being an artificial construct. It's 6 long pages but here it is, in case anyone's interested. Iapetus - Moon with a View - Or, What Did Arthur Clark Know … and When Did He Know it? It's worth noting, and apples somewhat to this topic, that one feature of the Iapetus moon is a ring around its equator, (precisely on its equator.) What I don't like about all the crazy theories is how they get a low res image, change the exposure and start seeing entire cities every... [More]
Comment icon #31 Posted by The Religious Hoax 12 years ago
Wow, you can actually get an internet connection in your cave? At least I know not to waste my time with you Emma. It's one thing to engage in pointed discussions, but it's another thing to put somebody down like that. We are all guilty of letting our tempers get the best of us, but this was an unprovoked insult, when the person you are insulting didn't even directly engage you. That's pretty sad.
Comment icon #32 Posted by psyche101 12 years ago
At least I know not to waste my time with you Emma. It's one thing to engage in pointed discussions, but it's another thing to put somebody down like that. We are all guilty of letting our tempers get the best of us, but this was an unprovoked insult, when the person you are insulting didn't even directly engage you. That's pretty sad. Lets be fair, what about the snarky comment: More scientists being paid for unimportant guesswork. How do you know Emma is not a leading scientist? With her vast knowledge, I would not be a bit surprised. Emma's input I find to be extremely accurate, valuable, a... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by The Religious Hoax 12 years ago
Lets be fair, what about the snarky comment: More scientists being paid for unimportant guesswork. How do you know Emma is not a leading scientist? With her vast knowledge, I would not be a bit surprised. Emma's input I find to be extremely accurate, valuable, and just to top it all of entertaining. Talk about a happy meal. Only thing I have seen her do that I do not approve of is move that darn creationist out of the way for me. (PJ) Engaging Emma is anything but wasting time, I find Emma to be one of the more accomplished debaters on the board. If you discuss anything with Emma, chances are,... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by psyche101 12 years ago
The comment you are referring to was a general statement made about science community. That's different than singling out someone. Come on now, did I really need to point that out? I could really care less. Anyone who comes across as elitist isn't worth my time. It seems you do care, as you felt the need to drag it out. It was a comment meant to ignite controversy, and that it did.
Comment icon #35 Posted by Paxus 12 years ago
Hey AZDZ, You were right, I meant 'your' in the general sense. I looked at the pics you posted - still can't say I see anything unusual.... BY the way, i don't scoff at the seeding of life idea, I scoff that they think the balls in Africa are related specifically to that moon/whatever it is. I bet I could find several things which look similar, it's not eerie at all! Don't forget they say the satelite is NOT round, so howcome if you think they are related the balls in Africa are round? -Djinn- I think it's because we want to believe that we look for anomalies which are anomalous
Comment icon #36 Posted by Sylent Nyte 12 years ago
They look more like flying-saucers than icy moons, but Pan and Atlas are two of Saturn's strangest satellites. Scientists have long been puzzled by how the oddly-shaped moons, which are only 20miles across, came to be. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1367617/Saturns-UFO-moons-Bizarrely-shaped-Pan-Atlas-baffle-scientists.html#ixzz1H3mUSsoM Well now that we've identified them, the question that becomes REALLY important is that if we are invaded by aliens, can we ram one of our own spacecraft into these "artificial constructs," and transform them into GIANT ROBOTS?
Comment icon #37 Posted by Persia 12 years ago
Robot boat to look for life on Saturn moon http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/8359642.cms


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