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[Saturn's Moon] Hyperion is a lumpy chunk of ice only about 270 km (170 miles) across on average, but yesterday (August 25, 2011) Cassini passed about 25,000 km away from it, so it got a lot of high-resolution shots. As you can see, it’s saturated with craters. But they look funny! The overwhelming impression I get is that Hyperion is made of resilient foam, like a packing peanut. I’m also fascinated by the ginormous crater that dominates this face of the moon.
If Hyperion were made of stiff rock, an impact that size would’ve shattered it like a bullet hitting a pebble. But if the composition of the moon is able to compress and compact — like foam, or something with lots of pockets of empty space inside it — the impact would do pretty much what we see here. Lots of asteroids appear to be "rubble piles" — chunks of material held together by their own gravity, possibly due to impacts that produced myriads of cracks inside the body, or events that just barely shattered the rock, letting it re-accumulate under its own gravity. I’m not saying Hyperion is like that (it’s still not well-understood what it’s like), but that’s one way to bet.
Note also all the dark spots in the bottoms of the craters. Those are from hydrocarbons, complex organic molecules formed when ultraviolet light from the Sun hits simple molecules like methane, rearranging the atoms into bigger molecules. Even under the weak gravity of the moon they flow to the bottoms of the craters, giving Hyperion that decidedly odd black-eyed pea look.
Originally posted by psilo
Whenever I see another planet/moon with tons of craters, I always think of how lucky we are to be safe in the solar system.
Blazing Hyperion on his orbed fire
Still sat, still snuff'd the incense, teeming up
From man to the sun's God; yet unsecure:
For as among us mortals omens drear