The international Cassini spacecraft went into safe mode this week after successfully passing over a Saturn moon that was the mysterious destination of a deep-space faring astronaut in Arthur C. Clarke's novel "2001: A Space Odyssey.''
Cassini flew within 1,000 miles of Iapetus on Monday and snapped images of its rugged, two-toned surface. As it was sending data back to Earth, it was hit by a cosmic ray that caused a power trip. The spacecraft was not damaged, but had to turn off its instruments and relay only limited information.
It's the second time Cassini has flown by the walnut-shaped Iapetus, but the latest images are the crispest yet. The spacecraft focused on a jagged ridge surrounded by mountains near the equator that look geologically old. Scientists hope to find out what forces caused the ridge to form and how long it has been in existence.
Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7) www.beyondgenes.com