Deep Impacts

Mimas' many craters
Craters upon craters cover the surface of Mimas

This just in, a late straggler from Cassini’s recent flyby of Mimas. It shows the northern region of the “other side” of Mimas opposite the moon’s signature Herschel crater. The sheer walls of some of the craters near the top left are 2-3 miles high – or deep, depending on how you look at it – and the rest of the surface is solidly coated with craters of all sizes as well. It’s easy to see why Mimas is described as “the most heavily cratered body in the solar system.”

This could partially be due to its location in orbit…it is the closest in of Saturn’s “major” moons and thus lies deeper within the planet’s massive gravity than other moons, thus receiving more impacts – and getting hit harder as well – by interplanetary debris.

I adjusted the levels and sharpened the image above from its original raw version in order to bring out more detail.

Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/J. Major

Trivia of the day: the word “crater” comes from the Greek word for “mixing bowl”.

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