Death Star lurks near Saturn

A spacecraft from Earth has found Darth Vader’s Death Star lurking deep in the solar system. The deadly battle station from Star Wars was snapped by the Cassini probe against the backdrop of Saturn’s brilliant rings.

It seems galactic tyrant Darth has parked his star-destroying weapon close to home and is waiting for the chance to target our own sun. Or that’s what it looks like.

In fact this astonishing likeness to the Death Star, just released by NASA, is one of the planet Saturn’s many moons, Mimas. And rather than being the legendary monstrous fighting machine, it is a rocky world like our own moon, 247 miles wide.

What looks like the Death Star’s deadly superlaser dish is in fact a giant, 80-mile wide crater blasted out of Mimas by an asteroid impact.

Mimas’s likeness to the Death Star is simply an extraordinary coincidence. Star Wars creator George Lucas could not have known what the distant world looked like close up.

Robin Scagell, of the UK’s Society for Popular Astronomy, said last night: “It is an amazing image and an amazing likeness – and it is going to make plenty of Star Wars fans look twice.”

Cassini, part of a joint Nasa-European mission, is in orbit around Saturn, the second biggest planet in our solar system.

UK scientists scored a massive success in January when the Huygens probe, which had been carried piggyback by Cassini, landed on another of Saturn’s moons, Titan.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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