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Saturn Summary

Saturn

Saturn Moon: Mimas!

This image of Mimas was acquired by the Voyager 2 spacecraft on August 25, 1981 from a range of 425,000 kilometers.


Mimas was discovered by William Herschel in 1789 and is one of the innermost moons of Saturn. It has an icy surface with many craters with a low surface temperature of about -200 C (-328F). Its low density indicates that most of the moon is composed of ice.

Mimas has enormous impact craters with one measuring the size of 130 kilometers wide. This crater is called the Herschel and it extends one-third the diameter of Mimas! Traces of fracture marks can be seen on the opposite side of Mimas. The crater is 10 kilometers high and has a central mountain as high as Mount Everest on Earth.

The larger cratering of the surface (greater than 40 kilometers) occurs almost everywhere except in the south polar region. In that region most craters are relatively small with the largest being 20 km, possibly the result of some surface activity. Mimas was a Titan who was slain by Hercules.

Voyager l picture of Mimas.


This Voyager l picture of Mimas shows a large impact structure at ll0 W Long., located on that face of the moon which leads Mimas in its orbit. The feature, about l30 kilometers in diameter (80 miles), is more than one-quarter the diameter of the entire moon. This is a particularly interesting feature in view of its large diameter compared with the size of the satellite, and may have the largest crater diameter/satellite diameter ratio in the solar system. The crater has a raised rim and central peak, typical of large impact structures on terrestrial planets. Additional smaller craters, l5-45 kilometers in diameter, can be seen scattered across the surface, particularly along the terminator. This photo was taken on November l2 at 5:05 a.m. PST, from a range of approximately 660,000 kilometers.


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