18. Rhea – The Ring Moon
Rhea is a barren and bleak surface that is heavily cratered and marked with deep smears of grey, while the temperatures tend to fall to -220 degrees even when it’s orbiting in the shade. Scientists earlier expected it to be made of simply ice and rock formations, however, the space probe missions conducted by Cassini and Voyager revealed some fascinating discoveries.
In 1980, the Voyager space probe mission revealed some exciting pictures of the craters and vibrant canyons of exposed ice formations from Rhea’s surface. In 2008, the Cassini space mission revealed striking proof that Rhea is orbited by peculiar ring structures, which is the first time such characteristics have been found in a moon.
Later in 2010, the Cassini probe revealed the presence of a thin layer of atmosphere that surrounded the moon with carbon dioxide and oxygen, another first-time discovery of oxygen made by a space probe mission. Scientists have concluded that the oxygen is formed by the energetic particles within the surface, which release gases within the atmosphere through the process of reaction and decomposition. These processes tend to take place when Rhea orbits through the magnetosphere of Saturn.
Scientists predict that in far off future, the increasing oxygen levels in the atmosphere of Rhea can trigger several fascinating chemical reactions to take place on its surface.
19. Europa – The Icy Jovian Moon
Europa, a fascinating icy moon that orbits Jupiter, is slightly smaller than our moon, and it has a variety of mysterious characteristics that have sparked curiosity and influenced plans for future space missions to lead a probe that will unravel the mysteries. Europa is by far the smoothest celestial object in the solar system, and it is completely devoid of craters and crevices.
The thick surface sprawls over 62 miles, and features large deposits of a rare and unknown material with a brownish-red color, which shrouds the ocean that scientists believe is residing beneath the surface. Scientists believe that these oceans validate the free-flow of water, which accompanied by the ties and warmth arising from the gravitational pulls of Jupiter make human life somewhat sustainable.
In 2013, the NASA gathered some images taken by the Hubble telescope that indicated that Europa may be excreting water into space. This is a clear indication that the care of Europa is geologically active, and also generates underwater vents that can allow organisms to live and grow with all the essential nutrients that they need to thrive.
20. The Moon – The Original Wonder
It is impossible to compile an article on fascinating moons without listing down the most magnificent wonder of the solar system, the moon that lights up the nighttime sky of our planet, Earth. Researchers and experts often quip that more is known about the surface of the moon as compared to the oceans running through our planet.
The moon of planet earth happens to the fifth largest natural satellite within the Solar System, and aside from Earth, it is the only celestial body that humans that embarked on foot. The moon has been observed by the inhabitants of Earth for centuries, and this fascinating celestial object that become the subject of a great many cultural traditions, myths, historical legends and religious occasions. The solar and lunar eclipses of the moon also hold immense significance across popular cultures.
The existence of the moon is essential to sustain and uphold human life on Earth. By moderating the wobble axis of the earth, it makes sure the Earth maintains a natural rhythm that is synced with the ocean tides to ensure a climate that is pleasant and stable.
The surface of the moon is divided into highlands, which are areas of land, and maria, which are the darker regions. It appears that the surface of the moon has varied patches of composition and the age of one area is often different from the other. For instance, the earliest structure of the moon featured a molten crust, which later crystalized to create the lunar surface that is visible to us today.
Since the moon does not recreate or regrow its surface as many other objects across the Solar System, the Moon will preserve the craters and the footprints of the astronauts who walked its surface for centuries and centuries to come.
Scientists have revealed that the moon features a thin layer of atmosphere, termed as the exosphere, which is simply to sufficient to combat the harmful radiation of the sun, or the impacts of meteor, while the protective atmospheric layer defends earth from these hazards. The most well-established theory about the formation of the moon dictates that Theia, a celestial body with the same size as Mars, collided with Earth more than 4.5 billion years ago, leading to the formation of the Moon.
The Theia Impact, also known as the Giant-Impact Hypothesis, is a catastrophe of great significance and it is believed to be the reason that made planet Earth capable of sustaining human life. For decades, moon is welcoming the advent of both, humans and robots, and so far, no evidence has been revealed to suggest that moon can sustain human life. However, scientists and astronaut fantasize about creating a human colony, or a launch pad where they can reach further than the stars.