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Unusual temperature patterns spotted on Saturn moon
Posted: Tue, Mar 30, 2010, 6:03 AM ET (1003 GMT)
Mimas Pac-Man image (NASA/JPL) Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed an unusual pattern of temperatures on the surface of one of Saturn's moons, scientists said Monday. Images and thermal data collected by Cassini during a February 13 flyby of the moon Mimas showed that the warmest temperatures were on regions of the surface at local morning, instead of afternoon as expected. Moreover, instead of gradual variations in temperature the Cassini data revealed sharp regions, in a shape reminiscent of the Pac-Man video game character, where temperatures were about 15 degrees warmer than the rest of the surface. Scientists suspect the temperature variations are linked to variations in the texture of the moon's surface. Mimas is often called the "Death Star" moon since its gray color and the presence of a large crater resemble the giant space station from the movie "Star Wars".
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