NASA saw its Cassini mission end in 2017 when the craft they launched into space, pierced Saturn’s atmosphere to be burned and mangled into nothingness. The data that the probe sent back while doing so, has now been studied and converted into a paper in Science magazine.
NASA brings us some insights into the discoveries made by analyzing the data in their new blog post. With a new spotlight shined on Saturn’s famous rings, on how different they are from each other.
NASA Cassini would ultimately face a fiery demise within the planet’s atmosphere but it was scheduled for a demolition derby within Saturn’s rings to gather significant data. Amazingly enough, it managed not to wind up as a planetary decoration during the process.
NASA Cassini Mission Shed More Light On Saturn Rings
“We find structures related to the detailed sculpting of rings by embedded masses, including structures near the moon Daphnis that have apparently experienced markedly different perturbations compared to the surrounding ring material, and complex structure elements within the largest propeller-shaped disturbances,” said the scientists in their paperwork.
“Like a planet under construction inside a disk of protoplanetary material, tiny moons embedded in Saturn’s rings interact with the particles around them. In that way, the paper provides further evidence that the rings are a window into the astrophysical disk processes that shape our solar system,” researchers stated.
Saturn’s C ring can be characterized as being streaky, providing evidence for impacts the many small objects that form it; with mini-moons playing a part in the shaping of the rings. The data provided from the unique mission the Cassini probe undertook will provide NASA with years of valuable study, as well as marking its place in exploration history.