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Space Science

Thin Oxygen-CO2 Atmosphere Discovered On Rhea 37

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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  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @12:22PM (#34351050) Journal

    Aliens who have died from lunar warming.

  • Redneck SUV-driving Rheaians. They fully believe that "we could use a bit of global warming around here!"

  • The Chinese (Score:1, Troll)

    by Teun ( 17872 )
    When you detect elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere you probably have a Chinese power plant nearby.
  • So when are we moving?

  • by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @01:25PM (#34351506) Homepage

    ..and I, for one, welcome our new oxygen-breathing overlords!

  • Factoid! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Combatso ( 1793216 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @01:30PM (#34351532)
    Cardbon Dioxide on Rhea is known as Dio-Rhea

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