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Remains of Shattered Moon Found in Saturn's Rings

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the deathstar-wanted-for-questioning dept.

Space 112

Riding with Robots writes "Scientists have announced that they have used images from the robotic spacecraft Cassini to find moonlets embedded in Saturn's outer rings that are likely the remains of a larger moon that was shattered by an asteroid or comet. The team from the University of Colorado at Boulder that made the discovery has now posted details and pictures."

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THE NIGGER SAYS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109193)

Where da white women at?

That's no moon... (5, Funny)

albeit unknown (136964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109203)

It's a space station!

Re:That's no moon... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109255)

Worse... It's the Saturn Three [imdb.com] space station!

Re:That's no moon... (1)

Marrshu (994708) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109407)

...or rather it WAS A space station

Re:That's no moon... (4, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109659)

*Force Choke* [xkcd.com]

xkcd (1)

!eopard (981784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110593)

I have been seeing relevant xkcd links in a lot of recent /. discussions recently. Is there no topic that they haven't covered? Or is the author following /. stories and quickly making up something that will fit? o_0

Re:xkcd (1)

john83 (923470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111147)

There's only been about 300 of them, but the author seems to be very much in tune with the /. crowd. There are only so many popular nerdy themes! I thoroughly recommend you browse through his archive - it's a very fun hour or so. Now, off to the String theory video thread to see if anyone's posted this [xkcd.com] yet.

In an unrelated note, posters warning of possible raptor entry points have appeared in my building recently. (It's not my doing.)

Riley Martin eerily proven right once more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109677)

O-Qua Tangin Wann. [thecomingoftan.com]

Re:That's no moon... (4, Funny)

gerf (532474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109815)

I blame this moon catastrophe on Global Warming.

After all, before global warming, no one had ever in history seen a moon being decimated like this. I estimate that by 2050 half of the moons will be destroyed by meteors and death stars. The moons of some planets and pseudo planets may be spared, but most will be devastated. Their rubble will fall upon our metropolitan areas and million dollar summer homes, leaving us homeless and starving for food.

We have all seen the horrific California wildfires this week. We've also seen the huge fireballs created by Schoemaker-Levy, which was near to this moon explosion. Obviously, something is going extremely wrong here!

I propose that we blow these moons before they get blown themselves. We can then control how and where the remnants fall. To do this, we need an old song that's still catchy, a bunch of nukes and some hillbillies with mental and drug disorders.

This program may very well hinder our economy. Because of this, any country that endeavors to be more advanced than any other country will be taxed into oblivion. We must have equality when taxing every single person for this project, after all. With enough hard work, we shall prevail over this imminent danger!

Mod Parent up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21110625)

This makes a lot of sense to me. Do you need a NASA grant to develop the ideas?

I'm currently a political aide to a Senator in Washington....

Re:That's no moon... (1)

Cpt Piett (1096979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112685)

I thought this was an interesting blurb, but your comment added a very good comical aspect. It made me laugh. Normally I don't laugh because Global Warming burned out most of my sense of humor.

Re:That's no moon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112733)

troll. it was close to 80 degrees the other day... in late october... in new england. global warming a "liberal myth"? get a grip.

Re:That's no moon... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21116791)

. . . the other day. . . global warming. . .get a grip.

Perfect. At least you showed some wisdom by posting as AC.

Re:That's no moon... (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112973)

<nitpick>Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted Jupiter, which while in cosmological terms might be nearby, is certainly not THAT close to Saturn!</nitpick>

Re:That's no moon... (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113081)

wow way to shoot myself in the face, how about S c hoemaker-Levy 9-- damn

--beckerist

Re:That's no moon... (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114305)

I blame this moon catastrophe on Global Warming.

After all, before global warming, no one had ever in history seen a moon being decimated like this. I estimate that by 2050 half of the moons will be destroyed by meteors and death stars. The moons of some planets and pseudo planets may be spared, but most will be devastated. Their rubble will fall upon our metropolitan areas and million dollar summer homes, leaving us homeless and starving for food.
Global Warming is the problem, but not for that reason. We didn't evolve on Earth. We evolved on Saturn and migrated to Earth after we caused a Global catastrophe on Saturn that lead to Global warming, which caused the aforementioned moon to be destroyed, and resulted in Saturn having its current climate conditions. If we're not careful, we'll do the same here.

Re:That's no moon... (2, Interesting)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110039)

It's a space station!

There, matey, I know a dead space station when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now! 'I's not pinin'! 'I's passed on! This space station is no more! It has ceased to be! 'It's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'I's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'I rests in peace! 'I's off the twig! 'I's kicked the bucket, 'I's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-SPACE STATION!!

There, I corrected that for you!

Re:That's no moon... (2, Funny)

networkassault (1176303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110391)

Now, we all know it's a flippin' Monolith. Now to send a diabolical, untrustworthy computer to go investigate it.

Re:That's no moon... (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110555)

Now to send a diabolical, untrustworthy computer to go investigate it.

I nominate my new laptop; with the crapware and Vista, it qualifies.

Re:That's no moon... (1)

speckledpig (880809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21116915)

hahahhhah @ praxis tag.

Have you ever seen... (2, Funny)

Grendel70 (1000350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109219)

Two earthworms in love?

So, what do the rings look like from inside? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109221)

I was disappointed when I found out that asteroid belts don't really look like the one we saw in Empire Strikes Back. It's been suggested that a planetary ring system would be a more likely candidate for closely-spaced celestial objects to fly around. Is that the case or would the closest object still be too tiny to resolved with the unaided eye?

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (4, Interesting)

sighted (851500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109323)

At least in some places, the ring particles are quite close together. Check out this illustration [seti.org] . The particles vary in size from dust grains to boulders as big as buildings. The wildest thing is that the rings are about 280,000 km wide, but less than one thick.

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (4, Informative)

sighted (851500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109363)

These Cassini images [nasa.gov] are interesting, too, and I think relate to the main story.

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110141)

The wildest thing is that the rings are about 280,000 km wide, but less than one thick.
Measured how? I understand the "thick" measurement but is "wide" from the core of the planet outward? Or all the way around the planet?

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110529)

Wild, not wide. 280,000 : 1, that's quite an aspect ratio. :)

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111771)

I would imagine that by "wide" they mean the length of a radius line from the inner edge to the outer edge.

Chris Mattern

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (5, Funny)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110317)

Its not that amazing. I'd hate to be the poor chump of a rock whose offset orbit intersects with eleventy billion tonnes of rocks orbiting at another angle ;)

Put another way, if you are a couple of k's below the rings on one side, you'll be a couple of k's above on the other. Between those two points are all the other rocks that have been persuaded (pummeled) into not bucking the system. Also they are very big. And angry. And very willing to give you a bit of the newtons laws up the wazoo to persuade you to move with the herd again.

You might also be eaten by a grue.

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110661)

And very willing to give you a bit of the newtons laws up the wazoo to persuade you to move with the herd again.

As I see it objects which have a little bit of out of plane momentum will transfer that component to the ring particles they collide with and drop into a lower orbit in the ring plane. Particles with a lot of out of plane momentum will fall right into Saturn. The out of plane momentum can't be turned into momentum in the ring plane.

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111393)

You do realize that your sentences contradict each other, don't you? Your statement, "out of plane momentum can't be turned into momentum in the ring plane", applies to both positive and negative momentum. You can't use out of plane momentum to slow down nor speed up your orbit; this means that particles won't be falling into Saturn. (In-plane transfers are another matter, of course. Even so, you won't see cinematic meteor showers raining down over the planet.) See for more info. Be warned, there's a lot of math to wrap your head around, but note that ring particles will only change their orbits as they pass through the ring's plane.

Re:So, what do the rings look like from inside? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109331)

the particles generally range from dust sized to very large objects much larger than a house and jusging from how much space the rings occupy, it should still be pretty empty in comparison to cluttered debris fields in movies.

Expected, but cool nevertheless (5, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109247)

The presence of planetary rings indicates a relatively recent astronomical event like this. Since Saturn has these pronounced rings, it cannot have been too long ago (in cosmic terms) that something like a moon or large planetoid was disintegrated in its vicinity. Eventually, the gravity of Saturn will suck the rings in and the cool ringed planet will become the ex-ringed planet.

Neptune is another planet with rings which are far fainter, so it is likely that Neptune's lunar disintegration event happened to a much smaller object somewhat longer ago.

Uranus, if it ever had rings, has swept clean its area. While not as pretty as a ringed planet, Uranus may pose less of a danger to probes since less damaging material encircles the planet.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (2, Informative)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109341)

Eventually, the gravity of Saturn will suck the rings in

The particles in Saturns rings are in no more of a decaying orbit around Saturn than the Moon is around Earth. The demise of the rings around Saturn will occur when they eventually dissipate into space over the course of tens of millions of years.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

chgros (690878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109787)

tens of millions of years
You mean tens of billions I assume? And by dissipate you mean sublimate?

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21110751)

Science is, what I got

I said remember that

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110767)

You mean tens of billions I assume?

The PP is right, it's tens of millions, at least according to one of Isaac Asimov's science essays I read a while back.
In astronomical timescales, structures of the magnitude of Saturn's rings exist for the equivalent of an eyeblink. In fact, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that each of the gas giants have gone through more than one of these "brief" events. Humanity is quite lucky to be around during one of them.

Too bad it wasn't Jupiter with the large-scale structure this time around, though - Galileo would have had a seizure after looking through the eyepiece and seeing four moons and an epic, effing ring to boot!

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110279)

Why won't the rings coalesce into a moon? Isn't that how they say moons and planets form?

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110587)

My understanding is that as they are currently relatively close to Saturn, tidal forces will cause any body formed to break apart. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roche_radius [wikipedia.org]

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#21115261)

Uh, no. Saturn's rings have no way to escape the planet's gravity, either.

What happens over long timescales is that the rings spread through collisions and gravitational encounters. Some particles are sent inwards, others outwards. (More of the former than the latter, typically.) Eventually, the particles will either get close enough to the planet to feel the atmosphere (the D ring is around 5,000 km from the 'top' of the atmosphere already) or spread far enough out that they'll get swept up by a moon. Escape from the system is very unlikely.

There are several additional factors here, however. First, there are moons in the system that hold the rings back in places, slowing the spreading down. (The moons can't stop it completely since they get pushed by the rings.) Second, particles colliding can grind the system down into smaller chunks of ice which eventually are small enough to feel a host of drag forces, including plasma drag and Poynting-Robertson drag. (On the other hand, it's possible that the small ice "dust" can get swept back up onto bigger particles and be recycled, slowing this process down.)

The age and evolutionary track of the rings isn't clear, although physics does give certain constraints.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (2, Funny)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109431)

Uranus, if it ever had rings, has swept clean its area. While not as pretty as a ringed planet, Uranus may pose less of a danger to probes since less damaging material encircles the planet.


I bleach my ring you insensitive clod!

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109543)

"Uranus may pose less of a danger to probes...."

I'm quite sure that probes pose much more of a danger to Uranus.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (4, Informative)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109695)

Uranus, if it ever had rings, has swept clean its area.


Uranus has rings right now...

No, that's not a joke, I'm serious, it does [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109723)

Heh. I wasn't aware of that. That, btw, is a spectacular photo of Uranus. I wonder what those red splotchy things on Uranus are.

What's particularly striking is how the outer rings are perpendicular to the rings right on Uranus. I can't imagine that they'd have been created as part of some natural discharge from Uranus.

You're really stretching it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109809)

Uranus may pose less of a danger to probes [slashdot.org] - one

I wonder what those red splotchy things on Uranus are - two

I can't imagine that they'd have been created as part of some natural discharge from Uranus - three

I can't help but suspect that you are manipulating Uranus for cheap laughs

Re:You're really stretching it (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109869)

You ruined it, I was going to keep responding completely seriously and see how far he was going to take it. :P

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

DigitalWallaby (853269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110301)

I wonder what those red splotchy things on Uranus are.

Those are the assteroids.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1, Funny)

gerf (532474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110065)

Uranus may pose less of a danger to probes since less damaging material encircles the planet.

I hope you realize what you've just said?

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110089)

Yeah, apparently Uranus does have rings. Someone else mentioned it in another post.

But despite the rings, I was amused to learn that Uranus has a wet surface. If this is true, it's not out of the realm of possibility that there may be something growing on Uranus. The pictures also indicate a lot of gas, so I wouldn't be too fast to pull the plug on Uranus. Certainly more exploration and examination of Uranus is warranted.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21110689)

The sooner we implement the Uranus -> Urectum name change, the better.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110705)

Urectum? Damn near killed him!

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#21115331)

All four giant planets have rings, there is just considerable variation in them.

As I've noted in another reply, the evolutionary path of rings is not entirely clear. There are a myriad of processes, from collisional grinding to accretion to gravitational scattering to resonances to E&M effects that play roles in the story. How large a role each plays and the timescales are generally a matter of debate. It is possible, according to some researchers, that the rings are as old as the planet (or very nearly so). It's also possible that they can't be more than tens or hundreds of millions of years old. Frankly, no one has a compelling argument for any particular number. (Anyone who tells you otherwise should be treated with skepticism.) I call this a "field ripe for research". That, or we're just plain confused. :-)

And yes, I *am* a rings researcher.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (1)

blahlemon (638963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21115567)

QUOTE: Uranus, if it ever had rings, has swept clean its area. While not as pretty as a ringed planet, Uranus may pose less of a danger to probes since less damaging material encircles the planet.

I hear the starship Enterprise does much the same thing with Klingons.

I disagree with you on one matter though sir...

I believe Uranus is in more danger of probes, especially with age.

Re:Expected, but cool nevertheless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21117169)

Neptune is another planet with rings which are far fainter, so it is likely that Neptune's lunar disintegration event happened to a much smaller object somewhat longer ago.
Again talking in terms of cosmic timescales, Neptune might be receiving prominent rings pretty soon. Triton, one of Neptune's moons, is inching toward the planet at a steady pace, and it is only a matter of time before it reaches the Roche limit [wikipedia.org] , wherein the tidal forces generated by Neptune will tear Triton apart. This is probably what happened to Saturn that caused those rings to appear.

P.S. isn't it a nice coincidence that my Capcha is "orbits"?

The alternatives (1)

Joaz Banbeck (1105839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109267)

I thought that this rawstory.com quote put it in perspective:

Two hypotheses prevail as to how Saturn acquired its seven rings.

One is that the rings were born at the same time as the planet itself -- they were left-over debris that became enslaved to the gas giant, doomed to orbit it for eternity.

The other is that the rings were the remains of large icy moons that broke into smaller pieces over time.

The problem with this latter theory has been that collisions of such a kind normally create debris in a wide range of sizes, from big lumps a kilometer (half a mile) wide to pebbles a few centimetres (inches) across.

The big pieces are already known, for there are kilometre- (half-mile) moons called Pan, Daphnis and Atlas that jostle their way around the rings, and photographs taken by scout probes have shown countless small pieces.

Until last year, what was missing were the medium-size pieces.

Saturn doesn't care about black people! (0, Troll)

WhatsUpNegro (1171485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109299)

Reasons:

1) It is surrounded by rings, when it should be surrounded by Negros.

2) Can't think of a 2nd reason but I always give three reasons, so fuck it and fuck you.

3) Saturn called me a nigger once.

We as negro people, it's time, it's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild Saturn, the one that should be a Chocolate Saturn. And I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. The Saturn will be chocolate at the end of the day. --

Re:Saturn doesn't care about black people! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109751)

Hi!

I am a young white girl and I am just bananas for black men. I like them as thugged out as possible, to the point where I can't understand a word they say.

Are you thugged out?

If so please post ASL and a phone number so we can talk. Maybe we could fuck, then you could fuck all my friends too but I'd still stay with you because I love you and society just wants to tear us apart because they don't like interracial dating but I'm so trendy I don't care what everyone else thinks.

Re:Saturn doesn't care about black people! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110641)

It's time for us to rebuild Saturn, the one that should be a Chocolate Saturn.
Did... did you just troll while also alluding to 2010: The Year We Make Contact [wikipedia.org] ? How strange!

Leftovers (2, Interesting)

lamarguy91 (1101967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109309)

From the aricle:


"It seems unlikely that moonlets are remainders of a single catastrophic event that created the whole ring system, because in this case a uniform distribution would emerge"

From the summary:


"...moonlets embedded in Saturn's outer rings that are likely the remains of a larger moon that was shattered by an asteroid or comet."

So the article says that it's unlikely that it was a single event. The summary says that it was a moon being shattered, which of course would fit the definition of a single catastrophic event. What am I overlooking here?

Re:Leftovers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109409)

Umm, the rings were created by one catastrophic event, the moonlets by another?

Re:Leftovers (1)

Joaz Banbeck (1105839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109515)

I think that they mean to say that whatever process created the rings, it did not create it in it's current state. It cretaed it sort of like we see it today, but with more moons.
Then over the millenia several of those moons became involved in collisions that generated the moonlets which we see today.

chunky much? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109393)

If there are chunks that big and so much matter all in one pretty flat disk (ie close to each other) then how come it doesn't all suck itself into one big piece? That's what supposedly happened to earth and we got one big moon and no ring. How does the ring stay a ring and not gravitize together?

Re:chunky much? (3, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109447)

The uniformity is thought to arise from the other moons orbiting Saturn; it's theorized that they smooth out the rings and keep them in stasis like they are.

Re:chunky much? (1)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112313)

Yup... they're called Shepherd Moons

Re:chunky much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109487)

I think the rings are inside the Roche limit.

Was one of them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109399)

Shattered is the past (2, Funny)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109505)

That shattered moon will just have to pick up the pieces and carry on like everyone else.

Re:Shattered is the past (1)

Joaz Banbeck (1105839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109831)

As soon as the wake is over.

curious.... (-1, Redundant)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109623)

how do they know it was from a moon? a ball of cheese? or star trek? give me a break that could be anything.

Re:curious.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109883)

Probably because unlike you, they're not idiots. They infer likely outcomes from what they've seen before, instead of just making random shit up. Do you really have to ask all sorts of retarded questions in hope of getting modded up?

Clearly... (2, Funny)

Siridar (85255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109689)

...this is a result of (god/allah/the great bellybutton in the sky) playing billiards. He was aiming for the moon to get knocked into the corner pocket, but ended up putting a bit too much force into the shot. Oh well, his next shot should be golden, he's going to try and pocket the Earth into the sun. Ever wondered why the Mayan calendar counts down?

That's no moon (oblig) (-1, Redundant)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109697)

That's the remains of a space station.

My God! Power of such magnitude! (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109805)

Only one force [nasa.gov] in the known universe is capable of unleashing such a devastating blast.

Re:My God! Power of such magnitude! (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110155)

Only one force in the known universe is capable of unleashing such a devastating blast.
Don't be too proud of this astronomical terror you've discovered.

Planet Xenu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109823)

"Scientists have announced that they have used images from the robotic spacecraft Cassini to find moonlets embedded in Saturn's outer rings that are likely the remains of a larger moon that was shattered by an asteroid or comet. The team from the University of Colorado at Boulder that made the discovery has now posted details and pictures."


Bah! I know the signature of a galactic overlord when I see it. Clearly, this was Xenu practicing for his earth-bound creation myth. Everyone who sees that should tremble before Elron. Err, Xenu. (Banish all suspicion that Elron was Xenu.) Especially the wheezing little short-guy who's running the scientolopgy scam nowadays. He should tremble more than usual, in fact.

In any case, it's only fitting the remnants be named Xenu in honor of their too-scary ethanol and glycol abusing creator.

Myth Busters (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109847)

Can the Myth Busters test this by smashing an asteroid in orbit around Earth? I wanna ring too.

Re:Myth Busters (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110231)

But where are Adam and Jamie gonna get a nuclear weapon that big? With the help of their friends at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission of course!

Re:Myth Busters (1)

steveoc (2661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110869)

Getting a Nuke would be tricky, but I hear that the Uni of NC as the most powerful antimatter ray gun - Ever.

Re:Myth Busters (3, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111391)

Believe me, we're working on it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_junk [wikipedia.org]

Thanks China for your latest contribution to the Greater Terra Ring Project!

We are the people of Earth (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113537)

Can the Myth Busters test this by smashing an asteroid in orbit around Earth? I wanna ring too.
And we want an ice ring! [photobucket.com]

Glad you could join us ;-)

Old News (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109851)

From TFA: "A narrow belt harboring moonlets as large as football stadiums discovered in Saturn's outermost ring probably resulted when a larger moon was shattered by a wayward asteroid or comet eons ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study."

Typical slashdot; recycled news from millions of years ago This story is probably a dupe from then.

Moonlets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21110207)

So is Charon a Moolet or a dwarf moon? I think it's time for another vote.

A ring is way cooler than a moon... (1)

the cleaner (1641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110493)

Come on, let's nuke our moon into a ring. A ring is way cooler than a moon.

And the tides are overrated anyway, I guess.

Re:A ring is way cooler than a moon... (1)

daniorerio (1070048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110941)

some ecosystems might disagree with you...

Re:A ring is way cooler than a moon... (1)

jackpot777 (1159971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112725)

NASA says that Saturn's rings are being pulled into the planet [nasa.gov] ... and if a Lunar Ring isn't properly created, the same would happen here. ...small moons that orbit through the outermost regions of the ring system are gaining angular momentum at the expense of the rings. "During the next few hundred million years," explains Cuzzi, "the outer half of the rings will fall toward the planet, and the little moons -- called shepherd satellites -- will be flung away. This is a young dynamical system."

Saturn's rings are composed from the same amount of material held in Mimas (the Death Star-looking moon). Mimas is around 130 miles wide, and the rings are falling into a safe-for-us gas giant millions of miles away. Our Moon is around 2300 miles wide, and for every fragment that gets flung outwards by gravity, another piece will be flung inwards. And those fragments will eventually be falling on you, me, and everyone else.

If we want a nice shiny ring, may I suggest Chinese toys painted with lead paint? Or maybe your own private Sputnik [slashdot.org] ?

Re:A ring is way cooler than a moon... (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21116073)

Wow you weren't kidding that looks just like the death star!

Cassini = Rosalind Franklin? (1)

xeno (2667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110687)

So the folks at Boulder announced it, but did they really discover it? Cassini's a pretty sophisticated robot and did all of the observation and a lot of the discerning and differentiation work, so when do we start to give credit where credit is due? It's now generally accepted that Rosalind Franklin was one of the primary discoverers of DNA (Watson's petty and dismissive BS aside), so why is this so different? A robot discovered this (former) moon, not a human. Do we name it after Cassini?

Just a thought.

Re:Cassini = Rosalind Franklin? (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110853)

And maybe it was Galileo's telescope that discovered Jupiter's moons.

Re:Cassini = Rosalind Franklin? (1)

xeno (2667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111043)

If Galileo's telescope launched itself, went to Jupiter, circled the moons, took pictures, calculated anomalies (=decided what was mathematically interesting), and corrected its own course and adjusted its own eyepiece to take even more detailed pictures and then sent them back for another researcher to analyze, then yes.

If you read http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/ [nasa.gov] it's notable that Cassini is a nuclear-powered robot that processes data "in situ" from remote and direct sensing equipment. It's not just a remote-control telescope; it navigates independently (by command, not direct control) and several of the instruments pre-process data and *decide* what's worth looking at prior to data transmission. If the robot sends data and a request to look at some cool anomaly, is the person receiving the message a discoverer?

Re:Cassini = Rosalind Franklin? (1)

deroby (568773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111603)

So what you are saying is : it's thanks to the software that decides on what's news-worthy and what not, that we get to see these pretty pictures ?
In that case, All Hail to the people who wrote that software !!

I just knew it ! (1)

steveoc (2661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21110829)

Even as a young child gazing into the skies at night, and marvelling at the bright rainbow coloured rings boldly circling the planet Saturn, I always thought to myself 'You know, there is probably a moon in them that rings'

Shattered moon? (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111017)

Time to bring in Bob the Builder, Bruce Willis, MacGuyver and a roll of tape.

Nothing New (1)

Strange Quark Star (1157447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111215)

Is this something new? Didn't Arthur C. Clarke wrote about the ring's origins in 1968's A Space Odyssee? Correct me if I am wrong.

So that's what happened to Luclin! (1)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21111557)

/evercrack

Saturn's rings. Ice. Water. Life remains? (1)

jackpot777 (1159971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112403)

Saturn's rings are composed largely of water ice with some impurities [solarviews.com] . Frozen ugly bags of mostly water [imdb.com] .

In 1952, Isaac Asimov wrote a story [wikipedia.org] called "The Martian Way", where colonists on Mars got sick of paying Earth to export water (and Earth politicians said the colonists were Wasters anyhow). The Martian Scavengers flew to Saturn, chose a large fragment of ice, reshaped it into a cylinder, embeded their ships in it, and flew it like a giant ship back to Mars. Using the fragment's ice as reaction mass, they were able to make the return trip in five weeks.

We now know they'd have to melt many fragments together instead of having a cubic mile chip to reshape ...but if something similar were undertaken in the future (fly a robot mission to the rings, fuse blocks together, return them to the inner Solar System), we could check the blocks of ice for traces of former life. Scientists are excited about the prospect of xenobiology under Europa's icy crust ...it would be a lot easier to sift through the rubble of Saturn's rings for traces of dead organisms preserved in the vacuum of space than to send a Cryobot [wikipedia.org] to melt through miles of ice in the hope of finding extraterrestrial life.

you know (0, Flamebait)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113237)

That moon irritated me, so I taught it a lesson. Let that serve as a reminder to all of you of my power, and tread carefully in modding my posts down.

Moonlets Not News! (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#21115137)

I know that the CU team wrote their press-release to make it sound like they're the first to discover propellers in the rings, but these were first found and identified as moonlets in a paper released a year and a half ago in Nature. The discovered was Matt Tiscareno at Cornell.

What this new paper finds is some new propellers and that these moonlets might exist only within a belt in the rings.

Re:Moonlets Not News! (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#21115371)

Oh, this is perhaps a shameless plug, but a friend noted the need for some images to help understand the story. So here are the discovery images of the first four propellers found: http://ciclops.org/search.php?x=0&y=0&search=propellers [ciclops.org]
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