Tenuous Oxygen Atmosphere Found Around Saturn’s Moon Rhea

The 2 March 2010 Rhea flyby trajectory and simulated oxygen atmosphere distribution. Inset: Predicted oxygen density (yellow) compared to the INMS measurement (white) during the flyby. Image © Science/AAAS

A few years ago, astronomers thought they found wispy rings around Saturn’s moon Rhea. Although the possibility of rings around this icy moon was later nixed, astronomers knew there was still something around Rhea that was causing a strange, symmetrical structure in the charged-particle environment around Saturn’s second-largest moon. Now, new observations have shown something else around Rhea that was completely unexpected: an oxygen atmosphere. In March of this year, the Cassini spacecraft made a close flyby of Rhea and recorded data showing a thin atmosphere made up of oxygen and carbon dioxide. (…) Read the rest of Tenuous Oxygen Atmosphere Found Around Saturn’s Moon Rhea (718 words)

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