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Project home: Mimas
Author: Jim Williams

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Mimas [MY-mass] is one of the innermost moons of Saturn. William Herschel discovered the moon in 1789. The surface is icy and heavily cratered. Mimas has a low density, meaning it probably consists mostly of ice. Because Mimas has such a low temperature of about -200° C (-328°F), the impact features may date back to the time of the moon's creation.

One of the craters, named Herschel, is surprisingly large in comparison to the size of the moon. The crater is 130 kilometers (80 miles) wide, one-third the diameter of Mimas. Herschel is 10 kilometers (6 miles) deep, with a central mountain almost as high as Mount Everest on Earth. This central peak rises 6 kilometers (4 miles) above the crater floor. This impact probably came close to disintegrating the moon. Traces of fracture marks can be seen on the opposite side of Mimas.

Although Mimas is heavily cratered, the cratering is not uniform. Most of the surface is covered with craters greater than 40 kilometers (25 miles) in diameter but in the south polar region, craters greater than 20 kilometers (12 miles) are generally lacking. This suggests that some process removed the larger craters from these areas.

Mimas was named by Herschel for the Titan who was slain by Hercules.

Saturn's natural satellites


Named Satellites: Albiorix | Atlas | Calypso | Daphnis | Dione | Enceladus | Epimetheus | Erriapo | Helene | Hyperion | Iapetus | Ijiraq | Janus | Kiviuq | Methone | Mimas | Mundilfari | Narvi | Paaliaq | Pallene | Pan | Pandora | Phoebe | Polydeuces | Prometheus | Rhea | Siarnaq | Skathi | Suttungr | Tarvos | Telesto | Tethys | Thrymr | Titan | Ymir

Numbered Satellites: S/2004 S3 | S/2004 S4 | S/2004 S6 | S/2004 S7 | S/2004 S8 | S/2004 S9 | S/2004 S10 | S/2004 S11 | S/2004 S12 | S/2004 S13 | S/2004 S14 | S/2004 S15 | S/2004 S16 | S/2004 S17 | S/2004 S18

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