Earlier this week, NASA released a new image of Mimas. One of Saturn’s many satellites, it is nonetheless quite a unique space body. One that also greatly resembles the Star Wars “Death Star”.
The Herschel Crater Made Mimas Quite Famous
NASA offered space enthusiasts new images of Saturn’s satellites. These were gathered with help from Cassini. This mission has been offering data on Saturn and its system since 2004. Last year, the orbiter entered its final project phase. As it is heading for its end, Cassini is nonetheless still offering new data.
This includes staggering images of the system, including the Mimas one. The photo was taken on November 19th, 2016. However, it was released just earlier this week, on March 13th. Through this latest image, Mimas once again consolidates its resemblance to the “Death Star” from Star Wars.
The striking semblance between the two is made evident by this new camera angle. Cassini photographed Mimas’s anti-Saturn hemisphere. The orbiter was situated some 53,000 miles away from the moon. In taking the photo, Cassini used its narrow-angle camera and took advantage of the visible light.
Besides its likeness to the famed weapon, the image brings into focus another important element. The one which actually determined this resemblance.
- Mimas is house to the gigantic Herschel crater.
- This latter is a huge hole spanning across 81 miles. Its size is especially relevant given the moon’s total dimensions.
- Mimas has a 246-mile diameter.
- The gigantic Herschel takes up about one-third of its total size.
- The crater was named after William Herschel.
- A British astronomer, he was the one to discover the moon back in 1789.
NASA also released a statement along with this latest image of Mimas. According to the scientists, the Herschel crater was most likely created through a powerful impact.
Agency officials state that a strong enough such impact could “potentially break up a moon”. However, “Luckily for Mimas, whatever created Herschel was not quite strong enough to cause that level of disruption”.
Other Saturn Moons Also Bear Strange Resemblances
Presently, science detected 62 moons around Saturn. Mimas is far from being the most bizarre amongst them. Last week, NASA released a clear image of Pan. This latter became quite famous thanks to its pasta shape. To put it simply, Pan resembles a ravioli.
This photo was taken on March 07th, 2017. As it is, NASA revealed an unprocessed image. Nonetheless, it is still the spacecraft’s closest encounter with the bizarre moon. Based on this photo, scientists will try to analyze and study its unique shape and geology.
Pan is also not the only space object – food semblance from the Saturnian system. There is also Iapetus, which looks quite like a walnut. Additional information or images can be accessed on the official NASA blog or Cassini mission page. Cassini will most likely continue beaming back data. At least until September 15th when it will willingly plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere.
Image Source: Flickr