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NASA Culture culture change at nasa wayne hale39s blog NASA Culture

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Among the ringed gas giant planet Saturn's amazing collection of 62 diverse, bizarre, and beautiful moons and moonlets, sometimes one of them just seems to stand out in the crowd. Such a moon is little Methone. Looking like a shiny white egg in Space, and composed of very lightweight fluffy stuff, Methone is less dense than any other known moon or asteroid in our Solar System. In March 2013, astronomers announced at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held in the Woodlands, Texas, that this strange little 5-kilometer-size moon is one of a batch of Space eggs in orbit around Saturn!



Now speaking of size within the Solar System, well, let us just say that the Sun is unmatched. Did you know that the Sun comprises more than 99% of the total mass of the entire solar system? Jupiter actually takes up much of the remaining proportion. Surface temperatures on the Sun stand at 5000 Kelvins (4727 degrees Celsius). With temperatures at its core reaching a 15.6 million Kelvins (15.6 million Celsius), the Sun is truly a celestial spectacle. It gets even better when one realizes that the Sun is classified as a class G star. Stars are classified in six major categories that tie in to the surface temperature and brightness. The categories are M, K, G, F, A, B and O listed in ascending order brightness and surface temperature. You can see that the Sun falls on the lower end of this classification. Category B and O are rare in the universe while most stars are in the category M and emit less heat and light energy. That said, the Sun is within the 90th percentile by mass among all stars. We have found other stars that are larger than our sun: one is estimated to be approximately 60,000 times bigger.



Ganymede is the largest moon in our Solar System. Indeed, its impressive diameter of nearly 3,280 miles makes it almost as big as Mars! Astronomers have known since the 1990s that this frigidly cold moon, that circles around the gas-giant planet Jupiter, contains a hidden salty subsurface ocean of liquid water, sloshing around deep beneath its secretive shell of ice. However, in May 2014, planetary scientists announced that the situation may be somewhat more complicated--Ganymede's ocean might be organized like a multi-tiered sandwich, with ice and oceans stacked up in several layers, according to new NASA-funded research that models this enormous moon's composition.