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Cassini reveals oxygen atmosphere of Saturns moon Rhea

A fragile atmosphere infused with oxygen and carbon-dioxide has been discovered at Saturn's moon Rhea by the Cassini-Huygens mission - the first time a spacecraft has captured direct evidence of an oxygen atmosphere at a world other than Earth.
The NASA-led international mission made the discovery using combined data from Cassini's instruments, which includes a sensor designed and built at UCL's (University College London) Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
Published today in Science Express, results from the mission reveal that the atmosphere of Rhea, Saturn's second largest moon at 1500 km wide, is extremely thin and is sustained by high energy particles bombarding its icy surface and kicking up atoms, molecules and ions into the atmosphere.

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Saturn's moon Rhea has thin atmosphere

Rhea, the second biggest moon of Saturn, has an atmosphere of oxygen and carbon dioxide, scientists say.
It is incredibly thin, however. The density of O2, for example, is probably about five trillion times less dense than the oxygen that blankets Earth.

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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has approved thirteen new names for features on the moon Rhea.
The new names include 1 crater, 5 catenae, 5 chasmata, and 2 fossae.
Two previously approved names were also changed; Kun Lun Chasma was changed to Kunlun Linea, and Pu Chou Chasma was changed to Puchou Catenae.

The 580-km-wide Avaiki Chasmata, located at Latitude: 25, Longitude: 279.
The 740-km-wide Galunlati Chasmata, located at Latitude: 38, Longitude: 290.
The 190-km-wide Harahvaiti Fossa, located at Latitude: -36, Longitude: 171.
The 110-km-wide Koykamou Catena, located at Latitude: -70, Longitude: 244.
The 180-km-wide Kunlun Linea, located at Latitude: 45, Longitude: 308.
The 480-km-wide Mamaldi, located at Latitude: 14, Longitude: 184.
The 80-km-wide Mouru Catena, located at Latitude: 48.5, Longitude: 343.5.
The 240-km-wide Onokoro Catenae, located at Latitude: -44.7, Longitude: 328.5.
The 120-km-wide Parun Fossa, located at Latitude: -46.5, Longitude: 152.
The 620-km-wide Puchou Catenae, located at Latitude: 32, Longitude: 87.
The 190-km-wide Pulag Chasma, located at Latitude: -33, Longitude: 266.5.
The 220-km-wide Thebeksan Catena, located at Latitude: -39.5, Longitude: 174.
The 350-km-wide Wungaran Catenae, located at Latitude: 22.5, Longitude: 79.
The 380-km-wide Yamsi Chasmata, located at Latitude: -28, Longitude: 280.5.

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No rings around Saturn's Rhea

Something unknown is causing a strange, symmetrical structure in the charged-particle environment around Rhea, Saturn's second-largest moon. But contrary to 2008 reports, it's not a system of rings.
Using NASA's orbiting Cassini spacecraft, a team of astronomers led by Cornell research associate Matthew Tiscareno searched for narrow rings, broad rings and any material from dust to giant boulders that might be orbiting the 1,500 km-wide moon.
They report their non-detection in the July 29 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

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The International Astronomical Union has approved 37 new names for craters on the moon Rhea, and a name for a new linea feature.

The 400.0-km linea feature, Kirinyaga Linea, located at Latitude: -1.8, Longitude: 128.8, was named after Mount Kenya (Kikuyu) a holy mountain, where the creator god Ngai resides.

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Rhea Map

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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has approved 42 new names for craters on Rhea.

Name LAT LON DIAM AS AD Origin
Aananin 34.9 339.9 0.0 5 1982 Korean god of the Heavens.
Abassi -21.3 146.5 87.2 5 2010-04-23 Efik (Ghana) creator god.
Adjua 40.2 118.9 0.0 5 1982 Mythical heroine and ancestor of the Ulci tribe.
Agunua 63.3 66.2 0.0 5 1982 San Cristobal (Melanesia) god who made sea, land, people.
Ameta 53.3 21.9 0.0 5 1982 Ceram (Indonesia) ancestor whose blood made Hainuwele.
Anguta 25.7 190.0 46.7 5 2010-04-23 Eskimo/Inuit (N. Canada) supreme being who created everything, father of the sea goddess Sedna.
Arunaka -15.3 22.1 0.0 5 1982 Inca creator of all things.
Atum -47.1 1.1 0.0 5 1982 Old creator God of Heliopolis; became son of Ptah.
Awonawilona -37.3 150.3 49.8 5 2010-04-23 Zuni (New Mexico, USA) primeval deity, supreme life giver.
Bulagat -38.2 15.2 0.0 5 1982 Mythological ancestor of the Buriat tribe.
Bumba 63.1 50.4 0.0 5 1982 Bushongo; dwelt in primordial waters; vomited up sun, moon, stars, animals, and men. Showed man how to make fire.
Burkhan 66.8 310.6 0.0 5 1982 Buriat (Siberia) god who created world.
Chingaso -17.1 106.0 47.8 5 2010-04-23 Jivaro (Peru) wife of the creator god Kumpara.
Con -25.8 12.7 0.0 5 1982 Inca coastal creator god.
Dangun 7.2 208.0 77.5 5 2010-04-23 Mythical ancestor of Korean nation, son of creator god.
Djuli -31.2 46.7 0.0 5 1982 Neghidahan (Ukrainian) first man who was ancestor of the people.
Dohitt -18.0 74.1 93.4 5 2010-04-23 Mosetene (N. Bolivia) creator of the earth and men.
Ellyay 71.4 91.8 0.0 5 1982 Yakutian ancestor of the people.
Faro 45.3 114.0 0.0 5 1982 Mande; his sacrificial killing in heaven atoned for his twin Pemba's sin; purified Earth.
Fatu 7.7 176.1 88.0 5 2010-04-23 Samoan (Polynesia) male of the first human couple.
Gborogboro -12.7 162.2 62.5 5 2010-04-23 Lugbara (Uganda) first man, pair to Meme.
Gmerti -52.0 192.6 57.2 5 2010-04-23 Georgian (Caucasus) god, founder and keeper of the world order.
Gucumatz 37.0 175.8 68.6 5 2010-04-23 Mayan creator god.
Haik -36.6 29.3 0.0 5 1982 Mythological ancestor of the Armenian people.
Haoso 8.3 12.5 0.0 5 1982 Manchurian creator of all things.
Heller 10.1 315.1 0.0 5 1982 Auracanin creator of men and bringer of civilization.
Huracan 53.2 188.5 71.2 5 2010-04-23 Kiche (Guatemala) creator god, bringer of children, ruler of wind and storms.
Imberombera -33.3 216.7 47.2 5 2010-04-23 Kakadu (N. Australia) creator goddess, the Great Mother, mate of the giant Wuraka.
Inktomi -14.1 112.1 47.2 5 2010-04-23 Dakota (USA) spirit, "The Spider," created time, space and language.
Inmar -2.3 301.6 54.8 5 2010-04-23 Udmurtian (Uralic Finns, Russia) creator god.
Iraca 39.4 112.1 0.0 5 1982 Incan creator god who became the moon.
Izanagi -49.4 310.2 0.0 5 1982 Japanese creator god, brother of Izanami.
Izanami -46.3 313.4 0.0 5 1982 Sister and wife of Izanagi; creator goddess.
Jumo 52.8 66.5 0.0 5 1982 Marijan sky god.
Karora 5.9 20.1 0.0 5 1982 Aranda (Australia) ancestor who, in his dreams, gives birth to animals and male children.
Khado 41.6 359.1 0.0 5 1982 Nanajan; mythological hero who built the world. The first Shaman.
Kiho -11.1 358.7 0.0 5 1982 Tuamotu (Society Islands) progenitor being; existed in void; made land, sea.
Kuksu 25.3 288.7 34.6 5 2010-04-23 Pomo (N. California, USA) deity who created the world with his brother Madumda.
Kuma 10.0 277.2 50.0 5 2010-04-23 Yaruro (Venezuela) moon goddess, creator of all things.
Kumpara 9.6 327.1 0.0 5 1982 Jivaro (Ecuador) creator god.
Leza -21.8 309.2 0.0 5 1982 Tonga originator of the conditions of life.
Lowa 40.9 16.6 0.0 5 1982 Marshal Islands (Melanesia) great creator god.
Luli 46.5 243.1 52.4 5 2010-04-23 Ember-goose who took up some clay from an ocean floor to create a land in Mansi myth (W. Siberia, Russia).
Madumda -36.9 64.8 82.6 5 2010-04-23 Pomo (N. California, USA) creator of the universe, brother of Kuksu.
Maheo 31.6 281.7 29.8 5 2010-04-23 Cheyenne (Great Plains, USA) Great Spirit, creator of the world.
Malunga 65.1 56.2 0.0 5 1982 Yao (Bantu); creator god; left Earth to live in sky when man was cruel to animals.
Manoid 29.5 8.5 0.0 5 1982 Negrito (Malay Peninsula) female progeniter goddess; wife of Pedn.
Melo -53.2 7.1 0.0 5 1982 Minyong (India); original male.
Mubai 55.8 20.2 0.0 5 1982 Tibetan heavenly god.
Napi 26.9 174.8 55.8 5 2010-04-23 Blackfoot (Alberta, Canada/Montana, USA) creator of the earth, animals and mankind.



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Name LAT LON DIAM AS AD Origin
Nishanu -9.0 129.0 103.4 5 2010-04-23 Arikara (N. Dakota, USA) creation spirit, great sky chief.
Num 24.0 92.7 0.0 5 1982 Nenets and Selkup (Samoyed) god of heaven.
Nzame 9.0 24.9 119.4 5 2010-04-23 Fang (Gabon) sky god and creator of all things.
Obatala -1.1 269.7 67.2 5 2010-04-23 Yoruba (Nigeria) sky god involved in the work of creation.
Olorun 24.7 155.4 58.4 5 2010-04-23 Yoruba (Nigeria) creator god, gave life to man.
Ormazd 52.5 58.5 0.0 5 1982 Persian progenitor god of light.
Pachacamac -23.4 83.7 46.8 5 2010-04-23 Inca supreme god, "Earth maker."
Pan Ku 65.7 107.7 0.0 5 1982 Miao; creator of all things.
Pedn 46.0 351.7 0.0 5 1982 Negrito (Malay Peninsula) god who created first men.
Pokoh -71.7 326.4 45.2 5 2010-04-23 Pallawonaps (S. California, USA) deity who made all things.
Pouliuli -16.9 284.4 59.8 5 2010-04-23 The first male being in Hawaiian myth, parent (with Powehiwehi) of all the creatures in the ocean.
Powehiwehi -8.2 280.4 271.2 5 2010-04-23 The first female being in Hawaiian myth, parent (with Pouliuli) of all the creatures in the ocean.
Puntan 33.9 292.4 33.0 5 2010-04-23 Chamorro (Guam Island, Micronesia) pre-existent being from whose body the world was formed.
Qat -23.8 351.6 0.0 5 1982 New Hebrides (Melanesia); born from a stone; formed men out of trees.
Samni -47.7 90.7 101.4 5 2010-04-23 Kachins (Burma) primeval god, the male element and father of the gods.
Seveki 12.9 164.7 89.1 5 2010-04-23 Evenki (Siberia, Russia) creator of the earth and man.
Shedi -53.5 346.8 47.6 5 2010-04-23 The first woman, ancestor of human race, co-creator (with her brother and husband Melo) of the earth and sky in the myths of the Minyong (Assam, India).
Sholmo 12.0 346.4 0.0 5 1982 Buriat (Siberia) devil who creates.
Taaroa 16.5 95.5 0.0 5 1982 Tahitian god imminent in all creation; existed alone in the void.
Tane -12.5 57.4 82.6 5 2010-04-23 Tuamotu Islands (Polynesia) creator god.
Tawa 17.9 175.2 62.2 5 2010-04-23 Hopi (Arizona, USA) sun god who existed at the beginning of creation, father of everything.
Thunupa 45.6 21.3 0.0 5 1982 Inca creator of all things.
Tika 25.1 84.1 0.0 5 1982 Abkhaz (Georgian - eastern Black Sea region) supreme being.
Tirawa 34.2 151.7 0.0 5 1987 Great spirit of Pawnee Tribe (USA), created first men; his messengers were the planets, stars, lightning and thunder.
Tore 0.0 340.0 0.0 5 1982 Pygmy lord of the world, creator of all things. Note: Defines 340 degrees longitude on Rhea.
Torom -68.1 343.5 0.0 5 1982 Ostyak (western Siberia) sky god.
Tsuki-Yomi 35.0 43.8 35.0 5 2010-04-23 Japanese moon god, born from the right eye of the primeval god Izanagi.
Tuwale -78.0 242.4 59.6 5 2010-04-23 Ceram (Molucca Islands, Indonesia) sun god and personification of the sky, took part in creation.
Uku 78.7 95.5 0.0 5 1982 Estonian super god.
Wakonda 48.6 269.7 123.0 5 2010-04-23 Sioux (Great Plains, USA) great creator of all things.
Wende -56.3 226.4 83.0 5 2010-04-23 Mossi (Burkina Faso) supreme god who lives in the sun, creator of the heavens and earth.
Whanin 66.9 115.0 0.0 5 1982 Korean creator of all things.
Woyengi 13.7 294.5 43.0 5 2010-04-23 Ijaw (Nigeria) creatrix who made men out of earth.
Wulbari 67.0 88.9 33.0 5 2010-04-23 Krachi (Ghana) primeval sky god, mate of mother earth.
Wuraka 25.1 4.0 0.0 5 1982 Kakadu (Australia) ancestor of all people; a giant.
Xamba 2.1 349.7 0.0 5 1982 Bushman supreme being, creator of all things.
Xowalaci 2.4 56.3 60.0 5 2010-04-23 Joshua (Oregon, USA) creator god.
Xu 55.0 71.9 0.0 5 1982 Bushman creator.
Yu-Ti 50.1 81.5 0.0 5 1982 "August Personage of Jade"; supreme primal Chinese god.
Zicum -50.9 111.2 76.8 5 2010-04-23 Assyro/Babylonian primeval goddess from whom came the earth and the heavens, mother of the gods.


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Rhea Map
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This global digital map of Rhea was created using data taken during Cassini and Voyager spacecraft flybys.
The map is an equidistant projection and has a scale of 417 meters per pixel in the full size version.

rheamap.jpg
Expand (641kb, 2880 x 1440)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


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RHEA030310Ab.jpg
Expand (86kb, 560 X 560)
Credit:    NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This image of Rhea was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on the 3rd March, 2010, when it was approximately 18,459 kilometres away.
The image was taken using the CL1 and GRN filters.


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