Mimas: Small Moon with a Big Crater

Whatever hit Mimas nearly destroyed it. What remains is one of the largest impact craters on one of Saturn's smallest round moons. Analysis indicates that a slightly larger impact would have destroyed Mimas entirely. The huge crater, named Herschel after the 1789 discoverer of Mimas, Sir William Herschel, spans about 130 kilometers. Mimas' low mass produces a surface gravity just strong enough to create a spherical body but weak enough to allow such relatively large surface features. Mimas is made of mostly water ice with a smattering of rock - so it is accurately described as a big dirty snowball. The image was taken during the closest-ever flyby of the robot spacecraft Cassini past Mimas in 2010 while in orbit around Saturn. Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute, Cassini #saturn #cassini #space #moons #nasa

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