Source (New Scientist)
What are centaurs?
Centaurs are part rocky asteroid and part icy comet. Matthew Hedman at the University of Idaho discovered in pictures from Cassini that two of the planet's rings showed alternating bright and dark bands. He argued this was caused by small comets that smacked into the rings. The pattern in the rings from the impact allowed him and his colleagues to work out the angel of impact which showed they were centaurs traveling on unstable orbits in the outer solar system.
Source (New Scientist)
Newscientist reports on the increasing evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus has a rocky core.
Enceladus is small, it's about the same size as the North Sea off the coast of Britain; many thought it would be lacking in activity, but since the Cassini spacecraft has arrived, it's been observing all kinds of activity, including the ejection of massive water plumes into space.
The gravitational pull of Saturn cause the moon to flex, which causes heating up. This is believed to be what causes the liquid water ocean under the icy crust to remain liquid. This has implications for the possibility of finding life on other similar small worlds. As with our own planet, we know that life can exist without sunlight deep at the bottom of the ocean near hydrothermal vents, that provide energy and nutrients for life to thrive. There are several moons like Enceladus that are potential locations for sending robotic spacecraft in search of life.
The BBC reports on the internal structure of Mimas, one of Saturn's Moons, nicknamed the "Death Star" due to it's Star Wars similarity.
According to the article, the BBC reports that the moon is either Wonky or Watery due to a 'wobble' that is a telltale sign to indicate that it is twice as big as expected for a moon that was thought to be solid all the way through, in a spherical shape.
Scientists believe either the moon has a rocky core that is shaped like a rugby ball, or it has a vast ocean beneath it's surface. If it is a vast ocean, which is favoured by one of the researchers, Dr Tajeddine; then it has huge implications for supporting life. It would lead to becoming a future candidate for a human colony. It might also have the potential for microbial life in the ocean if it does exist. That would be a massive discovery!
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