NASA recently posted an image on Instagram that sparked lively discussions among netizens who likened the celestial body in the picture to dumplings. The photograph, captured by the Cassini spacecraft, showcases Saturn's innermost moon, Pan, from two different angles.
In the Instagram post, NASA asked its followers, "Ravioli, pierogi, empanada... What do you see? No wrong answers." They went on to provide information about Pan, explaining that it orbits Saturn from within a gap in one of the planet's rings and completes an orbit roughly every 13.8 hours at an altitude of 83,000 miles (134,000 km).
The distinctive shape of Pan, resembling a dumpling, is attributed to the ridge around its equator, which is similar to another of Saturn's moons, Atlas.
NASA mentioned that Pan was initially discovered by MR Showalter in 1990, based on images captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. The recent images of Pan were taken by the Cassini spacecraft during its closest encounter with the moon, passing within 15,300 miles (24,600 km).
The Instagram post included two black-and-white images of Saturn's moon Pan, one appearing to be taken from above the moon and the other from below. The moon's flat ridge around its midpoint and surface lines are also visible in the images.
The post, shared eight hours ago, has received over 230,000 likes and generated various comments and comparisons. Netizens humorously likened Pan to a macaron with cream, tortellini, a space creature from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and even a frying pan with a pancake.
The image sparked imagination and engagement among space enthusiasts and food lovers alike.