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Moon stained with blood? Study and understanding. No one can explain the red stripes visible on the surface of Tethys, a moon of Saturn.

 On the surface of Tethys, a moon of Saturn, appear red stripes, and scientists have no idea how we are finished or what material they are made. Certainly they are ‘painted’ on the surface, but not yet understand how. In short, we face a little mystery. With a diameter of just over 1,000 kilometers, Teti is a medium-sized satellite, made up almost entirely of water ice. Its surface looks pretty normal for a moon of the outer Solar System: There are several craters – including a giant, 450 kilometers wide, called Odysseus – and many fractures. 

And then there are those strips on the surface, a few kilometers long and hundreds wide. They look like blood stains. In the first images taken by the Cassini spacecraft, which began to explore the Saturn system in 2004, the streaks were visible soon. But last April the probe had a chance to review them more closely, and in November flew over Teti distance even closer. Having been able to examine in detail the surface of the satellite, scientists have concluded that those strips do not have much sense. You do not see traces of escarpments, ridges or depressions of any kind: in short, on the surface of Tethys is no associated training to strip large enough to be seen by Cassini to the resolution used for his photographs.

Moon stained with blood? Study and understanding.

In some craters close one can see traces of a strange dark material, but you can not say what it is, how it could get there and whether or not some connection with streaks. It seems as if someone has taken a giant brush and has smeared the face of the satellite. If the strips are not colorful, we would not know even know are there. A possible explanation attempt is based on the mapping of the points in which they appear the strips. The analysis suggests that the satellite is subjected to forces that deform or compress it: it could be an irregular rotation, the orbit of a shift or migrazion pole. But the computer simulations do not show that similar phenomena can produce deformations of its surface in the points traversed by the red lines. What is certain is that the strips are relatively young, otherwise the dust that Saturn’s E ring lever and charged particles coming from space have already deleted. Yet they are there, and they go through the crater Odysseus: are thus back to its formation. Astronomers do not know for sure when Odysseus was formed, but some say it should not be older than a few billion years.

Ultimately, the most likely hypothesis is that the Tethys area is crossed by fractures that Cassini can not see. These fractures WOULD forming or re-opening, exposing the light material other than water ice of which the rest of the surface is made, hence the red stripes. Now that the probe is about to end its long-term exploration of the Saturn system, astronomers hope to solve this little mystery, and someone else bizarre puzzles associated with the giant ringed planet and its moons.

Moon stained with blood? Study and understanding.

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Moon stained with blood? Study and understanding.