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Space Science

Thin Oxygen-CO2 Atmosphere Discovered On Rhea 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the fo'-rhea dept.
Randyll writes "During its Saturn flyby in March, the Cassini space probe detected an oxygen-rich atmosphere on Rhea, Saturn's second-largest moon. While 100 times thinner than the atmospheres of Europa or Ganymede, Rhea's atmosphere contains a surprising amount of carbon dioxide. There is an explanation for the oxygen — the decomposition of surface ice — while the origin of the carbon dioxide is a mystery. A few of the possible explanations are that Rhea has carbon-rich organic molecules or that the gas is seeping from Rhea's interior. However, researchers have been unable to determine the exact source for the gas." While "richness" is relative — the study's abstract refers to Rhea's atmosphere as "tenuous," and oxygen concentrations are trillions of times lower there than they are on Earth — the finding still puts Rhea in rare company among the planets and moons of the solar system.
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Thin Oxygen-CO2 Atmosphere Discovered On Rhea

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  • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Friday November 26, 2010 @01:42PM (#34351176)
    I cannot tell if you are being sarcastic or serious. Sad case in either instance because regardless if you think something is real or not, it is obvious that pollutants have a huge impact on humans and therefor should be reduced.
  • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thrillseeker (518224) on Friday November 26, 2010 @01:46PM (#34351216)
    I cannot tell if you are being sarcastic or serious

    true talent has that ability
  • How come? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:46PM (#34353186)

    An interesting story comes to Slashdot, and there are practically no comments besides arguing about semantics and lame jokes?

    Come on, I want to read about: What CO2 in the atmosphere mean? Can it be a product of life on the surface that's breathing, or can it be used by life forms on the surface to create food, does this make it more likely for life to be there, or not? Should we sent a probe to Rhea (oh yes, we should send a probe everywhere), or just to Titan and Europa? What about colonisation of Rhea (hey, Rhea might be last in the list, but that's more interesting than arguing what 'thin' means)?

    Won't we put some hate on the US government for not making more missions, and learning more?

    Am I the only one who dreams that we spent more money for space projects, and we currently had probes working on all planets and major moons, plus permanent human presence on Mars and the moon?

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