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Cassini discovers two small moons
Posted: Tue, Aug 17, 2004, 1:16 PM ET (1716 GMT)
Cassini enters orbit around Saturn (NASA/JPL) NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered two small moons around the planet Saturn, scientists said Monday. The two moons, provisionally named S/2004 S1 and S/2004 S2, are reach 3-4 kilometers, and seen for the first time in images taken by Cassini on June 1, when the spacecraft was 16.5 million kilometers from the planet. The moons are 194,000 an 211,000 kilometers from the center of Saturn, and lie between the orbits of two much larger moons, Mimas and Enceladus. The moons are the smallest to be spotted around Saturn to date. One of the new moons, S1, may be an object seen once during the Voyager flybys in 1981; that object was designed S/1981 S14 but never seen again. Scientists said the existence of the moons may place limits on the number of small comets in the outer solar system. Project scientists hope to use Cassini to take additional images of the moons later in the mission.
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