The Azerbaijan State News Agency

WORLD

Cassini Detects Hint of Fresh Air at Dione

Baku, March 3 (AZERTAC). NASA`s Cassini spacecraft has "sniffed" molecular oxygen ions around Saturn`s icy moon Dione for the first time, confirming the presence of a very tenuous atmosphere. The oxygen ions are quite sparse – one for every 0.67 cubic inches of space (one for every 11 cubic centimeters of space) or about 2,550 per cubic foot (90,000 per cubic meter) – show that Dione has an extremely thin neutral atmosphere.

At the Dione surface, this atmosphere would only be as dense as Earth`s atmosphere 300 miles (480 kilometers) above the surface. The detection of this faint atmosphere, known as an exosphere, is described in a recent issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

"We now know that Dione, in addition to Saturn`s rings and the moon Rhea, is a source of oxygen molecules," said Robert Tokar, a Cassini team member based at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M., and the lead author of the paper. "This shows that molecular oxygen is actually common in the Saturn system and reinforces that it can come from a process that doesn`t involve life."

Dione`s oxygen appears to derive from either solar photons or energetic particles from space bombarding the moon`s water ice surface and liberating oxygen molecules, Tokar said. But scientists will be looking for other processes, including geological ones, that could also explain the oxygen.

"Scientists weren`t even sure Dione would be big enough to hang on to an exosphere, but this new research shows that Dione is even more interesting than we previously thought," said Amanda Hendrix, Cassini deputy project scientist at NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., who was not directly involved in the study. "Scientists are now digging through Cassini data on Dione to look at this moon in more detail."

Several solid solar system bodies – including Earth, Venus, Mars and Saturn`s largest moon Titan – have atmospheres. But they tend to be typically much denser than what has been found around Dione. However, Cassini scientists did detect a thin exosphere around Saturn`s moon Rhea in 2010, very similar to Dione. The density of oxygen at the surfaces of Dione and Rhea is around 5 trillion times less dense than that at Earth`s surface.

Tokar said scientists suspected molecular oxygen would exist at Dione because NASA`s Hubble Space Telescope detected ozone. But they didn`t know for sure until Cassini was able to measure ionized molecular oxygen on its second flyby of Dione on April 7, 2010 with the Cassini plasma spectrometer. On that flyby, the spacecraft flew within about 313 miles (503 kilometers) of the moon`s surface.

Cassini scientists are also analyzing data from Cassini`s ion and neutral mass spectrometer from a very close flyby on Dec. 12, 2011. The ion and neutral mass spectrometer made the detection of Rhea`s thin atmosphere, so scientists will be able to compare Cassini data from the two moons and see if there are other molecules in Dione`s exosphere.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA`s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The Cassini plasma spectrometer team and the ion and neutral mass spectrometer team are based at Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio.

 

Share news on social media

Follow us on social network

New plant species discovered in SW China

I believe that our cooperation with Azerbaijan would be continuous, says Mohammad Reza Majidi

Istanbul hosts 27th Eurasian Economic Summit

From Stefano Pontecorvo, Chairman of Leonardo S.p.A of Italy

21 investment projects for BGN 500 mln certified in 9 months in Bulgaria

From Darren W. Woods, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation

From Njoupouo Yap Mariatou, Secretary General of the International Civil Defense Organization

® Birbank unveils Novruz special: “Hədiyyəli çərşənbələr” campaign

BHOS student to participate in training-program in Korea

Employees of Baku Higher Oil School successfully represented at swimming competition

Azerbaijan repatriates 7 citizens from Syria

From Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia

UN allocates $100 million for underfunded emergencies

From Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname

Turkish company eyes construction of glassware factory

Türkiye's 5th generation fighter jet KAAN completes maiden flight

Elon Musk says first human patient implanted with a Neuralink brain-chip is moving a 'mouse around the screen just by thinking' after making a 'full recovery'

® Start planning your Novruz trips: AZAL offers 40+ destinations to choose from

Oil prices end mixed in global markets

DR Congo's prime minister resigns

From Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia

Inter Milan secures narrow win over Atletico Madrid

Azerbaijani oil experiences decline in global markets

American Muslims continue legal fight against FBI terror watchlist

Head of Georgian parliamentary delegation sends letter to PACE President over non-ratification of Azerbaijan’s credentials

Giant new snake species identified in Amazon

Azerbaijani, Croatian foreign ministries hold political consultations

® Kyrgyz specialist in meditation Laura Omuralieva awarded by Millionaire Concept in Baku

Lionel Messi: Inter Miami star donates eighth Ballon d'Or to Barcelona museum

President Ilham Aliyev’s official visit to Türkiye in spotlight of Turkish media

Popularization of shared Turkic culture discussed

The experience of Azerbaijani mine-action specialists would be beneficial for Ukraine, says Ihor Klymenko

From Antonella Bassani, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia

Germany legend and World Cup winner Andreas Brehme dies aged 63

® Innovations continue in İstəSən tariff package!

Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister participates in discussions organized by Atlantic Council in Washington

World's tallest man, shortest woman meet in US

From Nicolas Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Airforce Technology: The unveiling of the Akinci drone programme solidifies the country’s position as regional player

More than 6,400 trainee doctors submit resignations as worries over public health mount

EU-Georgia Association Council to discuss Black Sea submarine electricity cable project, Georgian Economy Minister

From Dr. Zuhair Alharthi, Secretary General of the International Dialogue Centre – KAICIID

Tractors roll into downtown Prague as Czech farmers join protests

Guivami Rahimli: The US should support its strategic interests in the region rather than the Armenian diaspora interests

From His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia

Schools in England asked to prohibit use of cellphones, impose restrictions

Azerbaijani weightlifter wins three European gold medals

Inter Milan to take on Atletico Madrid in UEFA Champions League

Azerbaijan sends electrical equipment as humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Consensus reached over Afghanistan issue despite Taliban's absense: UN chief

Hungarian parliamentary majority proposes February 26 vote to ratify Sweden’s NATO entry

Kenya’s Nairobi to host Climate and Clean Air Conference 2024

High-Level Roundtable at IEA Headquarters sets agenda for COP28 and COP29 VIDEO

Azerbaijan's Minister of Culture meets Croatian delegation

Azerbaijan, World Bank discuss cooperation in energy sector

From Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar

Japanese satellite made out of timber is set to launch this summer to combat space pollution

Central Bank: $102.6 m worth of demand fully covered at FX auction

President Ilham Aliyev’s official visit to Türkiye in spotlight of Georgian media

Mongolia sees record snow in 49 years

Azerbaijan’s Deputy FM, IEA Executive Director discuss potential cooperation within framework of COP29

Practical classes held at Commando Initial Course, Defense Ministry

Baku Higher Oil School hosts semi-finals of Republican Subject Olympiad in Informatics

Oil prices end mixed in global markets

Special offer from AZAL: discounts on flights to Dubai, Riyadh and New Delhi

bp publishes draft Environmental and Social Impact Assessment document for Project Sunrise

® Azercell is now in Fuzuli!

Azerbaijani taekwondo fighters claim two medals in Tehran

China's domestic tourism market surges during Spring Festival holiday

'Scent therapy' helps unlock memories in people with depression, trial finds

Thousands rail against Mexico’s president and ruling party in ‘march for democracy’

ANAMA clears 886.1 hectares of liberated territories from mines and UXOs over past week

At least 64 killed in tribal fighting in Papua New Guinea's highlands: media

Landslide buries houses in eastern Afghanistan, kills 25

President Ilham Aliyev concluded his official visit to Türkiye VIDEO

Matthew Bryza describes Munich meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders as positive development

Bucks star Damian Lillard defends his 3-point crown with win over Trae Young

First Ladies of Azerbaijan and Türkiye held meeting in Ankara VIDEO

Azerbaijani and Turkish presidents made press statements VIDEO

From Saja Farooq Abdullah, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan

President of Türkiye: The signing of lasting peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be a source of hope for tranquility and stability in our region and the world

Azerbaijan, Türkiye signed documents VIDEO

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan held expanded meeting VIDEO

President Ilham Aliyev: Unification of Turkic world will strengthen each member of Organization of Turkic States

From Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland

From Marcelo Robelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic

President of Azerbaijan: Türkiye is influential on a global scale today

President: There is no place for separatist forces on Azerbaijani territory, and there never will be

President Ilham Aliyev: We have concrete plans with Türkiye regarding joint production in defense industry sector

Azerbaijani President: The anti-terror measures demonstrated that Türkiye`s military model has now been fully integrated in Azerbaijan

From Mariam Khan, UNFPA Representative in Türkiye, Country Director for Azerbaijan and Georgia

President Ilham Aliyev: Türkiye-Azerbaijan unity has become an important factor today

From Baghdad Amreyev, President of the Turkic Investment Fund

Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister: A total of 71.5 mln manats in interest subsidies were disbursed

Azerbaijan Air Defense Units increase professionalism, Defense Ministry

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan held one-on-one meeting VIDEO

Crew abandons vessel after missile attack off Yemen

Official welcome ceremony was held for President Ilham Aliyev in Ankara VIDEO

Italian Defense Minister congratulates Ilham Aliyev on his re-election as President of Azerbaijan

2 officers, 1 first responder killed at the scene of a domestic call in US state of Minnesota; suspect dead