Ancient Scars

 

Cratered Rhea
Cratered Rhea

Old craters are overlapped by younger ones in this image of Saturn’s moon Rhea, taken by the Cassini orbiter on August 29, 2008 and released today.

The 950-mile-wide moon holds the distinction as the only known moon to have its own set of rings: a thin, scattered version of its parent’s signature trait. Perhaps these ring particles, detected in 2005, originated from debris blown off the moon during the explosive creation of one of its larger craters. The ring, not visible in the photo above, is composed of pebble- to boulder-sized rocks and a dust cloud extending further out. More research on this unique feature is planned.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute