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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Pac-Man Gobbles the Death Star
30 March 2010 10:47 am
The Cassini spacecraft must have known April Fool's Day was coming up. It returned this temperature map—released yesterday—after its closest flyby ever of Saturn's icy moon Mimas last month. Shaped into the likes of the Death Star of Star Wars fame by the giant crater Herschel, 396-kilometer-diameter Mimas was expected to have its warmest surface temperatures on the equator, where it was early afternoon. Instead, it was warmest in the morning (all of 92 K), giving rise in the science team's temperature-calibrated color scheme to a very large Pac-Man. The warmer Herschel in Pac-Man's mouth makes sense, Cassini scientists say, because the crater could retain heat longer, but the gaping Pac-Man is a mystery. Perhaps it arises from a variation in the heat retention properties of surface ice. Now, on to Cassini's 67th flyby of Saturn's big haze-shrouded moon Titan on 5 April.