The Cassini spacecraft burned down in the atmosphereSaturn two years ago, but the results of his observations still help scientists make amazing discoveries. The five moons of Saturn under the names of Pan, Daphnis, Atlas, Pandora and Epimetheus move very close to the rings of the planet and have extremely strange shapes. For example, Atlas vaguely resembles an alien saucer, and Pan looks like a huge flying dumpling. NASA researchers studied the data collected by the Cassini and finally understood how the satellites acquired such bizarre forms.
The satellites are moving very close to the rings of the planet,therefore, it is logical to assume that they somehow interact with them. According to NASA researchers, they have a porous surface and a solid core, and bizarre shapes are created due to the fact that particles from rings are attracted and stuck to them.
We found that these satellites collect from ringsIce and dust particles forming small skirts around the equator. A denser body would be more spherical, because gravity would attract material.
Bonnie Buratti, Head of Research
The spectral surface map closest toSaturn's companions of Pan and Daphnis showed that they have a reddish color. What kind of minerals give them such a shade is still unknown, but scientists suspect that they are a mixture of organic compounds and iron. The more distant from the planet satellites under the names Atlas, Prometheus and Pandora are colored blue - the shade was given by ice particles and water vapor.
Saturn’s aforementioned moons seem tostill attract particles from the rings and increase in size. In addition to them, there are many other smaller satellites - which was the reason for their formation, the researchers do not even know to this day. There is an assumption that they were formed when a large object was destroyed after a collision with an asteroid.
What do you think - what is the reason for the presence of a huge number of satellites from Saturn? Feel free to write your assumption in the comments, and you can discuss the topic in more detail in our Telegram-chat.