The Bizarre Mysteries of Space

Saturn’s Moons

While the broader area of space beyond our backyard is full of mysteries, it’s a common assumption that we have a pretty good handle on what’s going on in our own solar system. Which makes it strange indeed that we recently discovered a brand-new moon circling Saturn.

“Peggy,” as the tiny, possibly disintegrating satellite is called, was discovered in 2013, when NASA’s Cassini snapped a picture of Saturn’s rings, and caught disturbances that suggested the formation of a new moon. The discovery did shed light on how Saturn has managed to acquire so many moons–62 confirmed, with 150 satellite objects of different sizes–but it also opened up more questions, including how stable the moons of Saturn truly are. Since Cassini went dark in 2017, there’s no real way of knowing if Peggy is even still present; JPL speculated that the diminutive moon was unlikely to get any bigger, and in fact was much likelier to disintegrate. It’ll be some time before another mission can make it to the ringed planet, in order to get close enough to confirm or deny.