NASA has revealed its closest-ever photos of Saturn's moon Pan. The images were taken by the Cassini spacecraft that flew by the tiny moon on March 7.
The Cassini probe did a close-approach at a distance of just 15,268 miles. This close distance has allowed it to capture images of Pan that clearly reveal its geology and shape.
Pan Is A Ravioli-, UFO-, Empanada-Shaped Moon
Pan is only 12 miles across and this month's encounter is not actually the first for NASA. It was first spotted in 1990 by SETI researcher Mark Showalter using the images captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1981. The moonlet is named after a Greek mythological god of nature and the forest, a creature that resembles a man with a goat's hind legs and hooves.
Pan is very small and has an average radius of only 8.8 miles. It orbits Saturn at a distance of 83,000 miles in a region known as the Encke Gap on the planet's A-ring.
The latest images have captured the attention of the internet. Pan has been called the ravioli moon for obvious reasons. It doesn't end there as Pan is also being compared to other things.
National Geographic compares Saturn's tiny moon to a flying saucer and naturally tags it as a UFO moon.
Ars Technica likens Pan to a walnut... because why not?
After ravioli, UFO, walnut, we get other fascinating takes such as comparing Pan to a pan-fried dumpling or empanada.
Ravioli also rhymes with guacamole so why not include half avocado on the list.
Pan Is Not The Only Weird Thing In Space
We're only starting to discover what's around us. In space, Pan is surely not the only oddly shaped moon or heavenly body we have seen so far.
Another moon of Saturn, Atlas, resembles its sibling. Atlas is just a flatter version of the ravioli-shaped tiny moon.
Tech Times reported before about the planet's Death Star Moon and this one does not need an explanation where it got its name.
Then, there's also the potato-shaped Prometheus moon of Saturn.
We also have the small moons of Mars known as Phobos and Deimos, names that literally translate to fear and panic, respectively.
NASA's radars have also captured images of an asteroid resembling Dungeons & Dragons dice.
Lastly, why do we have to look so far when our experts consider our own moon's shape very odd, more of a lemon, less of a sphere, as they say.