The Cassini spacecraft has identified a series of outworld red lines that can be seen on the icy moon Tethys, close to Saturn. Scientists have yet to provide accurate information as to what these lines could represent, but they do have some theories about how they might have come to be.
Speculations suggest that these lines could be nothing more than areas of exposed ice which contain chemical impurities. This phenomenon can occur once gas is released from below the surface of the moon.
Scientist Paul Helfenstein considers that the red lines are “geologically young” due to the fact that they stretch across older geological forums such as craters. Helfenstein stated that exposure to outer space might erase these lines in very short time.
In the last years Tethys has been going through its summer. The sun’s rays are able to illuminate once darker areas of the moon and this could be a reason as to why the gas is eliminated via the moon’s crust.
While Cassini has been orbiting Saturn ever since 2004, NASA has received new images of Tethys this April. NASA has been using infrared, ultraviolet and green filters to obtain a better image of Saturn and its 62 moons. This attempt has the aim to make all these celestial objects visible to the human eye.
With all the discoveries made by NASA recently it seems that we are on a very clear path to mapping the secrets of the universe. Space exploration seemed to be unreachable 50 years ago, but now we can study moons from other planets, virtually leave our solar system and identify “cousin planets” from 40 hundred light years away. Space is closer to us than ever before.
While the red lines on Saturn’s moon still remain a mystery, one thing remains certain: Tethys is the only celestial corpus in the area which presents these features. Study over time might enable us to understand their true origin.
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