Moons: The Weirdest Planets In Our Solar System

July 22 & 23

Our solar system has at least 170 moons orbiting the main planets. Before these moons were visited by spacecraft, astronomers expected them to be boring, dead objects devoid of any geologic features. We now know they are fantastic worlds - with features unlike anything seen on Earth: giant sulfur-spewing volcanoes, globally cracked ice-covered surfaces, liquid lakes of hydrocarbons, and colossal watery plumes. Yet many of these worlds are also earthlike and familiar. Titan, the giant moon of Saturn, has often been called an Earth in deep freeze, with cloud systems, lakes, shorelines, drainage fields and even perhaps rain. Scientists believe that the most likely places for life to evolve outside the Earth may be in the water-interiors of the moons Europa, Enceladus, and possibly Titan.

Dr. Bonnie Buratti
JPL Senior Research Scientist

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