Spongy Hyperion

The moons of Saturn are a strange assortment of worlds. When the Cassini spacecraft takes the highest resolution images ever of each new world, it generally captures something that leaves scientists and space buffs scratching their heads.

Enter the next head-scratcher: Hyperion. This tiny water ice moon looks like a sponge and may in fact be porous, with up to 40 percent of its interior composed of empty space. Too small to gravitationally sculpt itself into a sphere, Hyperion has been further misshapen by impacts. The small amount of dark material visible in images may be debris from much smaller impacts.

The image above is one of a series taken by Cassini between June 09 and June 11, 2005 and put together into a short movie. Cassini will target Hyperion for a close flyby on September 26, 2005.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype and is forthcoming from The Laurel Review. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.