Ten strange moons of the solar system: The solar system hosts moons with unique features; Features that make these moons attractive destinations for research purposes.
Except for Mercury and Venus, the other planets in our solar system have natural moons. The moon is a beautiful, dead world full of ancient volcanoes and countless craters. Today we are more familiar with the moon, But there are more interesting wonders in the distance. Each of the giant planets in the outer part of the solar system uses huge clusters of moons, many of which formed ice material at the same time as the planet itself. Although these moons are far from the sun, they have a variety of features that distinguish them from each other.
Below we take a look at some of the strangest and most exciting moons in the solar system. Some of these moons, such as Callisto from Jupiter or Mimas Saturn, are frozen and integrated and formed billions of years ago, and have been strangely scratched by space bombardment. Other moons, such as Shepherd, Pan, Atlas, and Neptune, have historically been influenced by their neighbors. Some of these strange worlds have been warmed by the powerful tidal forces of their planet, causing intense phases of activity that formed moons like Miranda. These forces, which led to the creation of other attractive moons, such as Ivy Jupiter and Enceladus, Saturn’s icy moon, are still active. Enceladus’ calm outer shell hides a great secret: extraterrestrial life.
Ten strange moons of the solar system
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft arrived in Saturn in 2004. It was then that Enceladus, the planet’s small inner moon, came to the fore and became one of the most controversial worlds in the solar system. The moon owes its fame to the discovery of glaciers that propagate through space from its southern hemisphere.
These glaciers are evidence of liquid water beneath the icy, thin-crust of Enceladus. Of course, Enceladus’ strange activity was revealed even before Cassini, thanks to early images. These images showed a strange, glowing surface and impact craters that resembled snow cover; However, the discovery of glaciers proved that Enceladus was an active world.
Enceladus, 504 km in diameter, is a mixture of rock and ice and, like many of its neighbors, has been frozen in the poisonous system for billions of years; But the tidal forces created by gravitational pull between Saturn and its larger moon kept Enceladus warm and active. Thus, this moon is one of the important targets for the search for life in the solar system.
Although much of Enceladus’s ice returns to its surface, a small portion of the ice escapes the moon’s weak gravity and enters Saturn’s orbit. These ices usually propagate in Saturn’s donut-shaped ring called the E-ring, which is the outermost and most scattered ring of Saturn.
Callisto is the outermost moon of the Galilean moons of Jupiter and the third-largest moon in the solar system and is only slightly smaller than Mercury. Callisto has the largest number of impact craters; Hence, it has gained a lot of fame. The reason for a large number of collisions is Callisto’s position in the Jupiter system. The massive gravitational pull of the orbit distracts the comets. One of the most famous comet collisions with Jupiter was the massive comet collision of the Schumacher Levy 9 in 1994.
Jupiter’s largest moons are directly in the line of fire; But Callisto’s inner neighbors were affected by geological processes, which caused the craters to disappear from their surface. However, the level of Callisto has remained unchanged since 4.5 billion years ago.
243 Ida is an asteroid in the asteroid family Cronis, located in the asteroid belt of the solar system. The asteroid has a small moon called Ductile, the longest axis of which reaches 1.6 km. Due to the weak gravity of Ida243, it is unlikely that Ductile Moon was trapped; Rather, it can be said that Aida and Dactyl were formed together.
Ida is a member of the Cronis family with more than 300 asteroids that have the same orbit. The group formed one or two billion years ago during an asteroid impact. Ductile is also a small part of the collision that enters the circuit around Aida; But there is a problem here: according to computer models, the duct must have been almost destroyed by another asteroid collision; So how can it be more than a billion years old?
According to one theory, the Cronis family is younger than it appears, and the Aida impact craters were formed due to storms of collisions in the early decomposition process. According to other theories, Dactyl has already experienced a destructive approach; But it is back in orbit. This explanation could be the reason for the spherical and strange shape of this moon.
According to two claims of Iapetus, Saturn is one of the strangest moons in the solar system. This moon was discovered in 1671 and one side is less light than the other. The part of the hemisphere facing Saturn orbit is dark brown; While the other hemisphere is light gray. According to a theory to justify the color difference of this moon, the side facing Saturn is covered with dust that has been propagated by small meteorite impacts on other small outer moons of Saturn.
Cassini images, meanwhile, tell a more complex story. Most of the dark matter on the surface of the Iapetus originates from inside the moon and leaves dark streaks as the sublimation of dusty ice from the moon’s surface (solid to steam conversion). This process probably begins with the accumulation of dust from outer moons.
Also, Iapetus has a mountain range with a height of twenty kilometers and a width of twenty kilometers in the equator, which has given it a distinctive orbital appearance. The origin of this mountain range is confusing. According to some theories, this mountain is a fossil from the time of the faster rotation of the Iapetus, which emerged in the equator; Others believe that the mountain was the result of pebbles from an ancient circular system around the moon that collapsed and landed on the surface.
Nereid was the second moon to be discovered in Neptune’s orbit. This moon is famous for its strange orbit. The distance from Neptune to Neptune varies between 1.4 million to 7.9 million kilometers. This orbit is common for disturbed moons (asteroids and comets trapped by planetary gravity); But the unusual and large size does not tell a strange story.
According to the findings of the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1989, the moon Triton entered Neptune’s orbit from the Kuiper belt. Triton disrupted the orbits of Neptune’s main moons and caused many to exit, But many astronomers also believe that Nereid could be a remnant of Neptune’s gravitational boundary.
Io is the innermost of Galileo’s four largest moons, orbiting Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. Although the three outermost moons are calm, frozen worlds with a mixture of rock and ice, Io’s landscape is a harsh combination of yellow, orange, and brown, full of strange and variable mineral forms that combine with sulfur and are scattered throughout the IoT. have become. Io is the most volcanic moon in the entire solar system. The strange surface of the moon was first observed in the flight of the Pioneer spacecraft in the early 1970s, But its volcanic nature was predicted only a few weeks before the Voyager 1 spacecraft arrived in 1979.
Io’s moon is engaged in a gravitational battle between its outer neighbors and Jupiter, which prevents it from orbiting completely. Small changes in the IoT distance from Jupiter (less than 0.5% in orbit) lead to massive tidal forces that strike the moon’s interior in all directions. The rocks are heated by friction and keep the core of the moon molten; As a result, a source of underground magma is created.
Although most Iowa rocks are similar to silicate earth rocks, they have many melting points; As a result, they often form in the form of hot oceans of magma that flow tens of kilometers below the surface of Iowa. Much of Iowa’s surface activity depends on sulfur rocks, which remain molten even at lower temperatures. Volcanic activity in Iowa has destroyed any icy ice material in Iowa, creating a dry, ice-free world. However, the average temperature of the IoT level can reach minus 160 degrees Celsius.
Hyperion has a strange appearance: its surface is like a sponge or coral with dark cavities and sharp grooves made of ice and lighter rocks. However, this is not the only strange feature of Hyperion: Hyperion was the first discovery of the non-spherical moons and has a different orbital focus.
The rotation of Hyperion does not correspond to its orbital period and rotates around Saturn in an irregular pattern; So that its axis of rotation fluctuates unpredictably. Hyperion, like other moons in the solar system, is made up of ice water; But its surface is strangely dark. According to Cassini spacecraft estimates, the density of Hyperion is 55% of the density of water; As a result, much of the interior space is empty.
According to popular theory, one of the reasons for Hyperion’s strange features is that it was a larger lunar remnant moon, probably between Titan and Optus, destroyed by a massive comet. The residues were reassembled to form Hyperion.
Titan, Saturn’s largest moon in the solar system, has unique features. Titan is the only moon with a thick atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft, with radar and infrared instruments, penetrated the moon’s opaque atmosphere and revealed views of the moon’s rivers and lakes that are unparalleled in the entire solar system. Titan is located 4.4 billion kilometers from the Sun and has an average surface temperature of minus 179 degrees Celsius.
Much of Titan’s atmosphere is made up of inert nitrogen gas. This gas is one of the main components of the earth’s air, But the hazy atmosphere and distinctive color of its clouds are due to the small percentage of methane. Titan conditions are perfectly suited for the methane cycle (conversion of methane from gaseous to liquid and solid). This cycle is similar to the water cycle in the Earth’s climate.
At low temperatures, Titan’s surface freezes, and at medium temperatures, liquid droplets land on the surface in the form of rain, accumulating in lakes, evaporating in warmer regions, and returning to the atmosphere. In addition, Titan has variable seasons and is Earth-like in this respect; Of course, the year of Titan is equal to 29.5 Earth years. In each Titanic season, lakes move from pole to pole. Given these characteristics, Titan is one of the targets of the search for extraterrestrial life; Most biologists, however, find it unlikely to find life in such harsh climates and chemical conditions and often believe that Enceladus, Titan’s blue neighbor, offers a more promising outlook.
Miranda, the moon of Uranus, is one of the strangest moons in the entire solar system. Voyager images show strange patches and streaks on the moon’s surface. In some parts of Miranda, there are collision craters, and in some other parts, there are no collisions, which indicates that this part is younger and less exposed to meteor bombardment. One of the outstanding features of Miranda is the existence of a pattern of concentric ellipses that resemble the track of a car race; While in other sections, the V-shaped patterns form parallel scratches.
According to one theory, Miranda is a Frankenstein world; That is, ancient lunar fragments condensed in the orbit of Uranus to form Miranda. Astronomers speculate that the former moon may have collapsed due to an interplanetary collision, and this may have been due to a sharp deviation in the Uranus axis.
However, further research has shown that such a theory is incapable of describing Miranda’s various surface features. Instead, tidal forces can be blamed for Miranda’s strange appearance.
Today, Miranda is in an almost circular orbit; But in the past, its orbit was in resonance with Umbria, the larger moon of Uranus; As a result, the two moons were constantly aligned, which caused Miranda’s orbit to enter a longer ellipse and experience severe tidal forces. Internal tension and heat are one of the causes of Miranda’s superficial veins and cracks.
Voyager probes shocked scientists by capturing detailed images of Saturn’s moon Mimas in the 1980s. This moon is very similar to the dead star in the Star Wars science fiction movie. A large crater covers one of the moons of the moon and is the same size and shape as the destructive laser plate mentioned by George Lucas, But Mimas is more than just an element of popular culture.
Mimas is Saturn’s innermost moon, orbiting Saturn in an orbit closer to Enceladus and farther from Pan and Atlas. The diameter of this moon is 396 km; For this reason, it is the smallest mass of the solar system with a spherical shape.
Pan and Atlas
Saturn’s Pan and Atlas are the smallest moons in our solar system. Despite their small size, these moons can affect Saturn’s ring system. These small worlds are perhaps the best-known examples of shepherd’s moons. Shepherd’s moons are small moons located in the ring systems of giant planets. As the name implies, these moons help the particles in Saturn’s system stay together while at the same time cleaning up other particles.
Pan is the cause of the Encke Gap; Prominent separation seen in glowing ring A; While the atlas is outside ring A. The most important feature of both moons is their flat surface, which looks like a UFO or walnut. Bonnie Borati from NASA’s propulsion test believes that these moons are covered with small particles and clear the space between the rings.
Ten strange moons of the solar system