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back to article Cassini closes in on Iapetus

Saturn watchers on the Cassini mission are preparing for another fly-by, this time of the oddly shaped moon Iapetus. Two views of Iapetus, ultraviolet and visible light. Credit: NASA The Cassini probe is set to pass within 1,600 kilometres of the moon, roughly 100 times closer than the last encounter in 2004. It is also the …

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Silver badge

Wait a minute...

That's no moon!

*BOOM*

Sorry, had to be done. That really is a bit odd though.

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Ben
Bronze badge

is it just me...

..or does that pass a remarkable resemblence to a half constructed Death Star?

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Stargate

All these observations are explainable by the presence of a totally black monolith on Iapetus.

Re-read AC Clark's 2001 - A Space Odyssey.

(Please don't chuck me out, it's raining outside)

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That's not the Death Star

This is:

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap050308.html

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Anonymous Coward

Poorly Made

It's obviously a cheap Chinese plastic ball with the seam where the 2 halves join is visible.

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Sides reversed?

The blackening by impact hypothesis makes no sense if the trailing edge is the blackened side. Anyway, the Cassini website says that the dark hemisphere is Iapetus' leading edge, not its trailing edge: see http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/image-details.cfm?imageID=2721

BTW, if you want to see some truly stunning images of Saturn and its system, go to http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/latest/index.cfm and enjoy the views.

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Anonymous Coward

Bloody obvious really

Where the red stuff came from if you know your mythology. Namely from when Zeus (aka Jupiter) had the dust-up with the Titans (only one left now) to get to be the Big Cheese of the solar system. Stands to reason there would have been a lot of blood flying about.

Also it explains what astronomers can't, namely why Saturn would float in Lucy's breakfast cereal. Prior to that it (he) was heavier and denser, and the encounter took a lot out of him.

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Bronze badge

Sides reversed? Not necessarily

"The blackening by impact hypothesis makes no sense if the trailing edge is the blackened side."

Depends whether it was a head-on, or a tail-shunt, no? If I fire a 12-bore at someone's backside, from close range: (1) their seat will be blackened from the cordite; (2) they'll probably be traveling away from me afterwards. As quickly as possible. Trailing that black-side backside.

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Arse about tit...

It is clear that the trailing side was not blackened, the leading side was lightened!. Happens to anything exposed to direct sunlight for a longish time.

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Anonymous Coward

"a totally black monolith on Iapetus."

The last recorded words of missing astronaut David Bowman were "My God, it's full of unsold copies of Atari's ET!"

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Lead Paint and Asbestos, get your Lead Paint and Asbestos here

Chinese made perhaps and slightly defective me thinks....

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Anonymous Coward

"100 times closer"

Could somebody explain to me what this means:

"roughly 100 times closer"

It's putting me in find of that other incomprehensible line that journalists have recently adopted:

"up to 100 people..."

Don't make sense.

up to 100 = 0, or 50, or 100. Pointless and fact-free.

100x closer = ???

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Anonymous Coward

Yep, "100 times closer" is utter nonsense

100 times closer => (original distance) - 100 times (original distance) => -99 times (original distance) = crap

If the distance is a 100th of the original distance than @#$%^&* say it like that, rather than the "100 times closer" way!!!

I bet the clown who wrote that thinks that 300 is 3 times greater than 100 (it's actually 2 times more) and thinks "loosing" is an English word. LOL...

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Re: "100 times closer"

As in one hundredth the distance it was the last time it took pictures of the thing? What's so difficult?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poorly made

"It's obviously a cheap Chinese plastic ball with the seam where the 2 halves join is visible"

Not the Chinese - Slartibartfast skimped a bit here (Probably got bored with the whole project). Probes were not supposed to be sent that far as the earth was supposed to be destroyed once the mice got their answer.

Kobus

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