April 2, 2009

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Cassini images from JPL PhotoJournal The features labelled 1, 2 & 3 are the same on the map mosaic and the single image.

People not in the USA may not know that April 1 is April Fool's Day, a time when jokes are commonly played on the unsuspecting. For example, Google offered a new automatic email answerer, Expedia advertised tourist trips to Mars, and LPOD featured an image purported to be of the Moon taken by Luna 10. I lied. The photo came from the JPL PhotoJournal and shows Saturn's satellite Iapetus as illuminated by sunlight reflected off Saturn - Saturnshine. The interpretation in yesterday's LPOD that the image showed the ejecta and scarp of the Orientale basin is relatively believable, because it does look like that. That fact that a feature on an icy moon in the outer solar system looks like a basin on our rocky Moon is not a coincidence. The same process of high speed impact and excavation produced both the crater on Titan and one on Orientale. There are some differences because of impact into an icy target rather than a silicate one, but the basic shapes are the same.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
Dec 31, 2004. 82 second exposure by Cassini's ISS camera. The spacecraft slewed to track the satellite, smearing the star images.

Yesterday's LPOD: Found Image

Tomorrow's LPOD: Leonardo's Light


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