Comets are a Big Deal

Today, NASA announced the discovery of an extremely large ring of ice and dust around Saturn.

The moon Iapetus has been apparently backing into the inner edge of this ring, for centuries. This discovery explains why an entire side of the small moon appeared dark, and another side light - sort of like the national flag of korea.

In fact, if you think about it. This discovery makes the flag of Korea look pretty cool. Comet fragments are the most likely composite material - having hit its neighbor hard for millenium - and the fragments of those collisions likely making up this new ring. It is very dark (impossible to see visually, but thermally detectable) - and there are alot of ice particles in it. And its huge.

If a ring like that were to hit our upper atmosphere, we would experience it largely as rain. Fragments this size created the oceans on our planet, and are responsible for seeding life into our upper atmosphere (from where thermal venting helped created DNA).