Prior to the Voyager flybys in 1980 and 1981 (Table 8.1), the satellites of Saturn appeared as little more than tiny spots of light, even when seen through the most powerful Earth-based telescopes. The Voyager mission not only transformed these spots into objects available for geologic study, but also enabled discovery of at least eight additional satellites, bringing the total known number to 17 (Fig. 9.1). These represent a remarkable diversity of objects, including various icy moons (many of which show signs of repeated resurfacing), the only known satellite in the Solar System to have an appreciable atmosphere (Titan), and a host of “small bodies” (a few tens of kilometers in size) which can be compared with the moons of Mars (Phobos and Deimos) and the innermost moon of Jupiter (Amalthea).
KeywordsImpact Crater Galilean Satellite Large Crater Outer Solar System Dark Material
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