There seems no limit to the things Cassini reveals about our mysterious outer neighbors in the Solar System…
After analyzing the paths of Saturn’s moons, scientists discovered the origins of some of the strange trails they’d previously noticed perforating the rings, specifically the F-ring. It turns out that the moon itself passes through this ring and in so doing, picks up the ice and dust particles that make the ring what it is and carries them along in its wake. Presto! Instant “mini-jet,” as science has known them for some time.
And it turns out that these trails are not just created by moons like Prometheus. Some objects as small as a kilometer wide do the same thing. Check out the last image, which removes Saturn from the shot and emphasizes the F-ring mini-jets. Amazing stuff!
Unfortunately, I cannot embed the video. But I can send you along to the link, so off you go.
Cassini just keeps sending back the most amazing photography. In this one shot, you can clearly see the giant of the bunch, Titan, lurking behind Dione. Pandora swings into view just at the edge of Saturn’s outer rings, and deep within them hides Lilliputian moon Pan.
For a closer look at the photograph above, visit the Jet Propulsion Lab’s photojournal here.
In response to some of the concern out there about Saturn’s potential demise, Saturn has sent out an email to it’s customers. They say that the idea may be for Saturn to go it’s own separate way, not to vanish as we fear:
Today, we confirmed that Saturn and GM would further investigate one of those options: a spin-off of an independent Saturn Distribution Corporation.
The Saturn Distribution Corporation already exists as an indirect subsidiary of GM. It’s the entity with which our retailers currently have their franchise agreement. An independent Saturn would still have its great retailers, and it would continue to source current products from GM through 2011. If successful, SDC at that point would source products from other manufacturers.
The goal—from a product perspective—would be to find future vehicles that match the Saturn Brand: fuel-efficient, safe, reliable and affordable. From a retailing perspective, we would build on our core strength of unmatched customer service. The same hassle-free experience that is a hallmark of the brand could be taken to even higher levels.
This leaves open the question of what they do to manufacture cars without GM’s backbone. The implication is that they would outsource elsewhere, but where?
GM is in trouble. OK, I get that. GM needs to make sacrifices. OK, I get that.
But why the hell are they getting rid of Saturn? This is their best product line by far and the most affordable. Many people shy away from GM cars – and besides, they’re boring anyway – but they love their Saturns.
I think it shows the worthiness of GM that when pushed to make any decision at all, they make the one that will cost them the most. I was going to buy an Aura as soon as I got a new job. Now, I will be looking elsewhere.
Newt Gingrich is still giggling over the whole Obama + tire inflation “controversy,” apparently not aware the joke – such as it was – is over. Never mind the stupidity of thinking, as he does, that the oil industry also has a cartel on tire pump air. Note, rather, that the 2008 Saturn Aura has had tire inflation gauges in it for quite a while, now.