Saturn's Tiny Moon Pan Looks Like a Space Ravioli

It's ravioli. Or a walnut.  Or maybe just a flying saucer would be a better descriptor.

However you describe it, new photos from the NASA Cassini mission shows just how much of an oddball Saturn's moon Pan really is.

Pan is one of Saturn's tiniest moons, with a diameter of only 17 miles.  The Cassini space probe, which has orbited Saturn since 2004, snapped new images of Pan on March 7.  

Officials at NASA noted that "these images are the closets images ever taken of Pan, and will help to characterize its shape and geology."

Despite its size, tiny Pan makes a big impact on Saturn's rings, from where it orbits.  The moon creates a dark gap in the rings, known as the Encke Gap. Pan was discovered in 1990 after close examination of photos taken years earlier by NASA's Voyager 2 probe.

The Cassini images give an astounding new view of the elusive little moon.

PHOTOS: Cassini captures pictures of Saturn's tiny moon Pan

Contributing: USA TODAY 

 

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