Computer simulations show how some of Saturn’s small inner moons might have acquired their unique pasta-like shapes thanks to low-velocity near head-on impacts of smaller bodies in the presence of extremely strong tidal forces.
A postcard from Cassini – a stunning edge-on view of Saturn, its rings, their shadow and three moons, captured by the orbiter in 2006 as it passed within about 2.7 million kilometres (1.7 million miles) of the sixth planet.
Two tiny moons of Saturn, almost lost amid the planet’s enormous rings, are seen orbiting in this Cassini probe image. Pan, visible within the Encke Gap near lower-right, is in the process of overtaking the slower Atlas, visible at upper-left.
Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Saturn 35 years ago — on 25 August 1981. What the Voyagers revealed at the planet was so phenomenal that, just one year later, a joint American and European working group began discussing a mission that would carry on Voyager’s legacy at Saturn.