This important measurement was made using Cassini's INMS instrument, which detects gases with the goal of determining their composition. INMS was designed to sample the upper atmosphere of Saturn's large, smoggy moon Titan. However, after Cassini's surprising discovery of a tall plume if icy spray erupting from cracks on Enceladus in 2005, planetary scientists turned its detectors to that small moon.
"Makemake is in the class of rare Pluto-like objects, so finding a companion is important. The discovery of the moon has given us an opportunity to study Makemake in far greater detail than we ever would have been able to without the companion," Dr. Parker continued to explain.
Earth's Moon is the largest and brightest object suspended in the darkness of the starry night sky. It is both lovely and enchanting, and it has, since ancient times, inspired curiosity and wonder in human beings who gaze up at the mysterious sky after the Sun has set. As such, Earth's Moon has long served as the inspiration for imaginative, wild and marvelous tales--it is the stuff of mythology and folklore. The "Man in the Moon" refers to several fantastic images of a human face that certain traditions see outlined in the gleaming disk of the full Moon. In November 2013, astronomers using data from the lunar-orbiting twins composing NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, announced that they have been acquiring new and fascinating insight into how this bewitching "face," etched on our Moon's disk, received its captivating and enchanting good looks!