Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Saturn's Moon Prometheus Spawning Moonlets

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hi-NerdyMcNerderson-i-am-Soulskill-on-reddit dept.

Space 47

astroengine writes "For the first time ever, astronomers have witnessed the formation of celestial objects... in Saturn's rings. As the Saturnian moon Prometheus dashes through the gas giant's rings, it leaves large formations of ice behind, some as large as 12 kilometers in diameter. When the small moon makes another pass, it is not known whether these giant 'snowballs' remain or get destroyed, but according to Linda Spilker, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: 'You can think of Saturn's rings as miniature versions of the disks where planets form. The same physical processes are occurring.'" The Planetary Society blog has further explanation, as well as pictures and a movie of Prometheus' interaction with Saturn's rings. The Cassini team has released some fantastic images of the fans and clumps in the F ring, as well as a simulation showing how the ring's particles are affected by the moon's passing.

cancel ×

47 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That's no moonlet. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33006976)


It's a space stationlet.

.

Re:That's no moonlet. (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007258)

Instead of moonlets, let's call them mooninites please.

Re:That's no moonlet. (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007754)

I think Boston's been through enough at the hands of the mooninites.

Re:That's no moonlet. (1)

kandela (835710) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019808)

The IAU has spoken: we have to call it a dwarf moonlet because it hasn't cleared its orbit of debris.

Fuel for space probe or spaceship? (3, Interesting)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007078)

Couldn't a space ship or probe come by and pick up one of the "small" moonlets and use it for fuel? 12KM of pre-frozen volatile organic matter sounds like a great windfall if you ask me.

Re:Fuel for space probe or spaceship? (2, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007186)

When we're at the stage that we can land on these kinds of objects (The Japs have managed to get one of their probes to 'land' or 'dock' with an asteroid I think) - then we've got the problems that come with efficiently harvesting and refining the materials.

Don't get me wrong, I think the idea has merrit, but we haven't reached that stage of the game yet. We would still need to probe it extensively - see how much of it is usable, recreate the conditions it occurs in to engineer a way to refine it, then make an efficient way to build that into a ship or probe such that it's more efficient to have it refuel at these moonlets as opposed to just extra fuel from the start.

Re:Fuel for space probe or spaceship? (1)

PagosaSam (884523) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009642)

"We would still need to probe it extensively..."

.

What's with outer space that make everyone want to probe something? Even the aliens like to do it, I'm told.

Re:Fuel for space probe or spaceship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007658)

Couldn't a space ship or probe come by and pick up one of the "small" moonlets and use it for fuel? 12KM of pre-frozen volatile organic matter sounds like a great windfall if you ask me.

And then what? Should the space ship or probe ignite the fuel with ... wait ... tons of oxygen shipped from Earth?

Re:Fuel for space probe or spaceship? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007852)

I think that this is a very dangerous idea. Didn't you read the title, "Saturn's Moon Prometheus Spawning Moonlets?" How would you feel, if Prometheus knocked on your front door, and explained, "I'm just here to pick up your kids for fuel."

As the Vulcans shake their heads, and try to think up ways of sabotaging our warp drives.

Before we set off for a romp around the solar system, we had better teach ourselves some outer space etiquette . . . like, "No using other folks' kids for fuel."

Definitely.

Re:Fuel for space probe or spaceship? (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#33033886)

Couldn't a space ship or probe come by and pick up one of the "small" moonlets and use it for fuel? 12KM of pre-frozen volatile organic matter sounds like a great windfall if you ask me.

Or just feed the astronauts Chipotle and you got the same thing right on board!

Stealing the power of the gods again... (3, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007086)

... to create moonlets. This time he's getting lots more eaten by the eagle than just his liver.

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007158)

This time he's getting lots more eaten by the eagle than just his liver.

Yeah. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

(Wonder how many people are going to get your reference to Greek mythology...)

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007240)

Wonder how many people are going to get your reference to Greek mythology...

Hopefully the people who played God of War 2 at least. Releasing him from Atlas' grip so he could burn in the fire of the gods and escape his eternal torment was a key puzzle in escaping from the underworld.

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (1)

john83 (923470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007388)

This time he's getting lots more eaten by the eagle than just his liver.

Yeah. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

(Wonder how many people are going to get your reference to Greek mythology...)

And I wonder how many more think it's a reference to Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero.

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (1)

Philomage (1851668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007392)

In this place... quite a few. Even those who don't might use their google/wiki-fu to look up Prometheus.

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009596)

Prometheus...always reminds me of P.D.Q. Bach's Overture to the Preachers of Crimetheus.

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009980)

Jobs isn't a god, fanboy. Sheesh.

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010724)

You know what they say. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. Give a man a fire and have your liver ripped out by eagles.

Re:Stealing the power of the gods again... (1)

dongge1234 (1863670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019874)

ghd australia [hair-ghd-s...htener.com] think this article is good!

One can only imagine the wonders... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007112)

...coming out of Uranus.

Re:One can only imagine the wonders... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009560)

Last week one the funniest comments I read was in regard to an article about the uniqueness of people's intestinal flora that said "Your feces is [sic] a Wonderland" and someone else said that he "loves that song".

Kilometers vs. miles (5, Funny)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007164)

Summary says 12 kilometers, article says 12 miles in diameter. Is it really that hard to get right? You could always say it's 3,862,425,600,000 beard seconds in diameter...

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (1)

ctchristmas (1821682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007294)

That unit of measure is too variable. What if another group like Z Z Top gets famous and throws the average time a beard grows per second off?

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007424)

Beard seconds are obviously based on Chuck Norris's beard.

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007848)

But does Chuck Norris's beard grow? I say no because it is neatly trimmed, yet there should be no razor in this universe powerful enough to trim Chuck Norris's beard.

I suggest that he merely wills the follicles to stop growing.

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (2, Funny)

Wraithlyn (133796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007944)

Can God create a question so complex that even he cannot answer it?

Can Chuck Norris grow a beard so tough that even he cannot shave it?

(Personally I think he roundhouse kicks himself in the beard. Nothing can withstand that)

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (1)

pigeon768 (589860) | more than 4 years ago | (#33012134)

Chuck Norris has the strength to shave his own beard. His razor, on the other hand .... oh no. No no.

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (1)

pigeon768 (589860) | more than 4 years ago | (#33012126)

Chuck Norris' beard grows at infinite speed to exactly the right length, and then ceases to grow - that is, it grows at speed 0. So every length in the universe is either infinite beard seconds long or zero beard seconds long.

Case of submitter bias? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007466)

The submitter is currently in Europe, according to his blog, so perhaps he's in do-as-the-Romans mode? He reads every number as if it has a European unit of measure attached to it. Hey, it's a lot easier than actually doing the conversion and ending up with inconvenient fractions....

Re:Case of submitter bias? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007636)

Well to start with he'd be silly to use fractions in a system that deplores them...

Re:Case of submitter bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007728)

Your post was valid until you stated that last bit about fractions, do you really think that the 12 miles value is exact and not rounded for convenience?
Well, never mind, it makes it easier to spot the troll.

Re:Case of submitter bias? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008106)

Your comment makes it equally easy to spot the undiagnosed autistic with a raging case of literalism.

NASA tradition (2, Funny)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007794)

Maybe it's just following in the NASA tradition.

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008432)

But what if it is potato-like asteroid 12 miles long and 12 km wide?

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33040866)

Another idea is that all the tards in the states could start using metric instead of that other system you have based on stones and feathers and such.

Re:Kilometers vs. miles (1)

hawkfish (8978) | more than 4 years ago | (#33058272)

Another idea is that all the tards in the states could start using metric instead of that other system you have based on stones and feathers and such.

Heh. I found out recently that the inch is defined in terms of metric units (1in == 2.54cm). So really they are using metric, just with a useless multiplier ;-)

Katamari? (2, Funny)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007252)

Am I the only one who pictured something to do with Katamari in regards to flying through the rings forming larger objects?

Re:Katamari? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007264)

Well, you WERE. Not anymore.

Re:Katamari? (1)

northernfrights (1653323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007498)

*to the tune of beastie boys*

Intergalactic
Katamari,
Katamari
Intergalactic...

That's not a moon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007438)

That's not a moon, that's moon poo.

Footfall (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007536)

It's the Fithp

Say did Niven & Pournelle ever write a sequel to that?

Crappy summary (3, Informative)

northernfrights (1653323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33007614)

Should have included this bit from the article:

"Over time, the disrupted particles -- mostly dense, sticky ice -- can take on a life of their own, clumping together under their own growing gravitational force."

The summary only talks about celestial objects destroying each other, then simply states that scientists are witnessing the "creation" of objects. We've seen stuff smash together all the time. The subject matter at hand is what happens afterward.

Re:Crappy summary (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008054)

Which summary were you reading? The one i see mentions "formation" several times and talks about how exciting it is, and the only reference to destruction is "When the small moon makes another pass, it is not known whether these giant 'snowballs' remain or get destroyed."

How did you translate "Lots of stuff is getting formed and we're learning a lot about the formation process, though we don't know if these things get destroyed later or not" into "The summary only talks about celestial objects destroying each other"?

Saturn? (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008452)

I thought they got canned by GM.

*Ducks*

Which one (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009166)

Ice is made of water, but it is a solid. So, is this a #1 or #2?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>