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Our Best Ever Look at Pan, Saturn’s Little “UFO”

Images of the shepherd moon Pan captured by Cassini on March 7, 2017. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Animation by Jason Major.)

Behold the almighty Pan! Thanks to Cassini’s ring-grazing orbits we’ve just received the highest-resolution images ever of Pan—which, at only about 17 miles (27 km) across admittedly isn’t very “almighty” but its flying saucer-like shape is really quite fascinating!

The raw images above were acquired by Cassini on March 7, 2017 and received on Earth on March 8. I assembled them into an animation to show some of the 3D shape of the little shepherd moon, which orbits Saturn inside the 200 mile wide Encke Gap in the A ring.

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Flying Saucers Over Mars!

Curiosity’s heat shield falls away to the Martian surface

It might not be a UFO per se but it’s definitely a flying disk from another planet — except in this case the other planet is Earth! This image, a high-resolution version of one sent back by Curiosity’s Mars Descent Imager on the morning of August 6, shows MSL’s  heat shield falling away, allowing the radar to get a lock on the descent stage’s position and altitude. Hey, it IS a saucer and it WAS flying… at least for a little while, anyway!

Check out a video of the event:

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