11/27/2012 06:28 pm ET

Two 'Pac-Man Moons' Orbit Saturn; Blinky Nowhere To Be Seen

Humans have long talked about the mythical "man in the moon."

It doesn't exist, but Saturn has two moons that both look like the 1980s-era videogame icon Pac-Man.

NASA recently released images from the Cassini spacecraft showing that the moon known as Tethys has a heat tattoo that closely resembles Pac-Man when his mouth is at his widest, MSNBC reported.

Back in 2010, the craft also took photos of another Saturn moon, Mimas, and scientists discovered that, it too, looked like Pac-Man when seen through a an infrared spectrometer.

Although Pac-Man enemies Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde were nowhere to be found, NASA scientist Carly Howett believes the circumstances that create these peculiarly pop culture-shaped heat tattoos may be more common than originally expected.

"Finding a second Pac-Man in the Saturn system tells us that the processes creating these Pac-Men are more widespread than previously thought," Howett said, according to TG Daily. "The Saturn system — and even the Jupiter system — could turn out to be a veritable arcade of these characters."

How did Pac-Man leave the arcade and show up on two of Saturn's moons?

Scientists credit high-energy electrons bombarding low latitudes on the side of the moon that's facing forward as it orbits around Saturn. That turns that part of the surface into hard-packed ice that doesn't heat as rapidly in the sunshine or cool down as quickly at night, according to

Both Tethys and Mimas may have Pac-Man-shaped heat tattoos, but there are subtle differences according to the Register newspaper, which says Tethys' pattern, unlike Mimas', can be seen in visible light as a dark region.



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