PIA13289: Mini Soccer Balls in Space
 Mission:  Spitzer Space Telescope
 Product Size:  1280 x 717 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  IPAC-Caltech
JPL News Release 2010-243
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA13289.tif (2.756 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA13289.jpg (53.41 kB)

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This animation illustrates that buckyballs -- discovered in space by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope -- closely resemble old fashioned, black-and-white soccer balls, only on much smaller scales.

The structures of soccer balls and buckyballs both contain 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons (the pentagons are black on soccer balls). The pentagons are needed to make the spherical shapes -- they allow the grids of hexagons to bend at just the right points. Soccer balls have 60 intersecting points at the same places where buckyballs have 60 carbon atoms.

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