Oxygen Detected On Saturn’s Moon Rhea
NASA is reporting that the Cassini spacecraft has detected a very tenuous atmosphere comprised of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide. This marks the first time a spacecraft has directly sampled an Oxygen atmosphere anywhere in the solar system, other than Earth.
The sensors on the spacecraft detected densities of about 50 billion molecules per cubic meter ( our atmosphere, at sea level has about 2.5x10e25 molecules, of which about 20% of that is oxygen) To put it another way, the gas density is higher around the International Space Station than in the atmosphere of Rhea.
Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif was quoted as saying:
“Rhea is turning out to be much more interesting than we had imagined, The Cassini finding highlights the rich diversity of Saturn’s moons and gives us clues on how they formed and evolved.