Feeds

Saturn's moon Phoebe may be captured planetoid

It came from the Kuiper belt

Application security programs and practises

New analysis of images of Phoebe, one of Saturn's many moons, suggests it may be have started life as a planetoid in the Kuiper belt.

A paper in the April issue of Icarus suggests that after study with what NASA describes as “data from multiple spacecraft instruments and a computer model of the moon's chemistry, geophysics and geology” boffins reached the conclusion that Phoebe is a “remnant planetary building block.”

Phoebe: mostly round

One telltale sign is the moon's shape, visible at right. "From the shape seen in Cassini images and modeling the likely cratering history, we were able to see that Phoebe started with a nearly spherical shape, rather than being an irregular shape later smoothed into a sphere by impacts," said Peter Thomas, a Cassini team member and co-author of the study. That heat may have come from radioactive elements which generated internal heat and helped the object to form. Internal warming may, the paper says, account for water signatures found by Cassini, as Phoebe may once have been warm enough to host liquid water.

Other evidence for the theory includes Phoebe's density, which is close to that of Pluto and therefore hints at similar origins. Throw in the fact that Phoebe orbits backwards and scientists feel it may have been captured by Saturn's gravity, rather than the process that caused its other moons to form. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.