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A Closer Look At Mimas Essay

1522 words - 6 pages

The Saturn Moon Mimas
Mimas is an inner moon of Saturn and is the innermost of the major moons, which are Enceliadus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Phoebe. Mimas has a crater named the Herschel Crater, which is approximately 88 miles and one-third the diameter of Mimas. The walls of the Herschel Crater are approximately 3 miles high and parts of the floor of the crater range approximately 6 miles deep. The central peak towers of the Herschel Crater on Mimas are almost 4 miles above the floor of the crater. To imagine this crater on Earth, it would be around 4,000 kilometers.
A English astronomer named William Herschel, had been using his 40-foot reflector telescope when he had made the discovery of Mimas on September 17, 1789. The name Mimas comes from the god (or Titan) Mimas in Greek mythology who was slain by one of the gods of Olympus in the war between the Olympians and the Titans. His son, John Herschel, suggested that the moons of Saturn be associated with Greek mythical brothers and sisters of Kronus, known to the Romans as Saturn. This tradition had begun with the publication of John Herschel's 1847 book.
Mimas averages 246 miles in diameter and its shock waves from the Herschel impact may have caused the fractures that were created as a result on the opposite side of Mimas, which many scientists have researched. Mimas shape is not quite big enough to hold a round shape. Mimas is known to be the smallest known astronomical body that is thought to be rounded in shape due to the result of its self-gravitation. Mimas orbits at a range of 115,280 miles from Saturn in a time frame of 22 hours 37 minutes. Mimas’ orbit makes it the closest major moon of all moons of Saturn. Mimas is known to be tidally locked to Saturn and has one side always facing in toward its parent. Because of tidal interactions with Saturn, the moon has rotated synchronously with its orbital motion, and has been always keeping the same hemisphere toward Saturn always leading with the same hemisphere in its orbit. This close orbit means that Mimas probably has received several times the rate of collisions as the collisions of other moons of Saturn.
Mimas and another Saturn moon, Rhea, have been called the most heavily cratered bodies in the Solar System. It is believed that the craters on Mimas have been around since the beginning of the Solar System. Mimas is so heavily cratered that new impacts will overwrite the old craters that were created in the past. There just is not a part of the Mimas that has not been pounded by impacts.
Mimas being closer to Saturn is what kept it from being heavily cratered compared to Saturn’s other moon Rhea. Results of the crater impacts are hard to detect due to Mimas being a warmer and consequently softer moon, which over a period of time its earlier features had faded away as a result of this. The older bigger craters can still be seen, even with all the impacts the moon has received. Most of the surface...

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