Mimas, one of Saturn's 62 moons, revealed the likeness of a popular 80s video game star when a probe measured daytime temperatures across its surface -- and a bizarre temperature mystery.
The temperature map taken by NASA's satellite looks just like the character from the iconic computer game Pac-Man.
The image was taken by the Cassini spaceship, a joint venture between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, which is orbiting the planet. Experts have attributed the variations in temperature across the moon's terrain to differences in the texture of surface materials, some of which may retain heat better.
But they couldn't explain the unusual pattern of warm spots on Mimas.
Instead of the expected smoothly varying temperatures, this side of Mimas is divided into a warm part and a cold part with a sharp, v-shaped boundary between them. The warm part has typical temperatures near 92 Kelvin (minus 294 Fahrenheit), while typical temperatures on the cold part are about 77 Kelvin (minus 320 Fahrenheit).
Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab posited a theory as to the variations in temperature: The cold part is probably colder because surface materials there have a greater thermal conductivity, meaning the sun's energy soaks into the subsurface instead of warming the surface itself. But why conductivity should vary so dramatically across the surface of Mimas remains a mystery.
The data were obtained by the composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS) on the Cassini spacecraft during the spacecraft's closest-ever look at Mimas on Feb. 13, 2010.
Cassini took 85 minutes to make the temperature map, NASA explained, as the spacecraft receded from Mimas. During that time, the distance to Mimas increased from 24,000 to 42,000 miles, due to the moon's rotation.
Pac-Man, a hungry yellow ball which chomps its way around a maze, was recently named in a poll as the world's best-known video game character.
SkyNews contributed to this report.