Cassini Gets Another Glimpse of Hyperion, Saturn’s Spongy Moon

posted: 06/03/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Hyperion on May 31, 2015
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA's Cassini orbiter recently completed its final flyby of Hyperion, Saturn's spongy, potato-shaped moon. Astronomers attribute the moon's unique appearance to its density, which is disproportionately low considering its large size.

Hyperion is also one of the few electrically charged natural objects in space. During a 2005 flyby, Hyperion sent a barrage of charged particles hurtling toward Cassini; they delivered an electrifying 200-volt shock to the spacecraft. The flyby was only the second time that astronomers encountered another charged natural object in space.

Cassini is nearing the end of its life -- much like the MESSENGER probe, Cassini will eventually deplete its fuel supply in 2017 and come crashing down to the surface of Saturn, collecting a treasure trove of data as it does so. In the meantime, however, the probe will continue to execute close flybys of Saturn's other moons.

Click here for more from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Learn more about Saturn:

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Saturn's Rings

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