Hey Space Friends! I’m talking this week about weird moons. The oddballs of our solar system. The interplanetary moons of mystery. Who doesn’t love weird stuff!? Okay, maybe not the weird stuff your Mom gives you for Christmas… But the weird stuff in outer space is super cool! In case you haven’t been paying attention recently, there is ravioli in outer space! Yeah! There’s a piece of ravioli floating around Saturn called Pan and it’s one of the weirdest moons. Not only because it has a ravioli shape which is absolutely delicious, but because it’s also less dense than a snowball, which is quite odd. But why exactly is there a ravioli moon in space? Well, it’s because it floats above and below Saturn’s relatively paper-thin ring, chowing down on ice as it goes along. And as it chows down on this ice, kind of like a Zamboni, it accumulates it around its edge creating a weird ravioli-like shape. Despite Pan being the size of Manhattan, we only really got a tiny appetizer of it from Voyager 2 data. It originally showed up as just a pixel in Voyager 2 imagery but now we have these amazing photos of it thanks to the Cassini spacecraft. The other weird moon in our solar system is obviously Titan. Titan, you may have heard, has lakes of methane and ethane and a really thick atmosphere and it rains and it has clouds and all this cool stuff. What else could be so cool about Titan? Well, it was recently discovered that Titan has static-electric sand. Essentially electrically-charged sand that when the wind blows more than 15 miles per hour, the sand clumps together much like how putting a cat in a bunch of packing peanuts would. Please don’t put your cat in a bunch of packing peanuts. Another weird moon in our solar system is Hyperion, which is another moon of Saturn but Saturn seems to have most of the weird moons in our solar system thus far. Hyperion is the sponge moon. It looks like a sponge. Although some people say it also looks like a wasps’ nest. A moon filled with wasps is definitely my nightmare fuel for tonight. But the thing that’s weird about Hyperion is that it’s so porous that it’s more of a rubble pile than a moon. It also rotates incredibly chaotically as it orbits Saturn. All of the craters on Hyperion are also so incredibly extreme that Hyperion actually experiences landslides within its own craters while it’s tumbling out in space. Another weird moon is Iapetus which is a moon of Saturn as you may have guessed because Saturn has a monopoly on all the weird moons. Iapetus doesn’t look like a ravioli but it does look like a walnut. That or I’m getting a bit hungry. But it’s most known for its bright and dark hemispheres, sort of having a Jekyll-and-Hyde moment. It’s really bright on one side and it’s dark as coal on the other side. Iapetus is made of eighty percent ice, so this dark material is kind of strange to be finding on its surface. The dark material that collected on Iapetus’s surface is thought to come from Phoebe. Phoebe is a fairly dark moon in comparison to Iapetus and it’s thought that Phoebe maybe brushed off a bunch of its dirt and it collected on Iapetus’s surface. But since then, Iapetus has been able to maintain its Two-Face villain look by having its ice interact with a lot of different types of radiation and potentially even having ice volcanoes on its surface. These sorts of interactions actually make it so that the dark parts stay darker and the light parts stay lighter on Iapetus. But the other weird thing about Iapetus is that actually has a huge ridge across its surface, much like the forehead of a Klingon. And this ridge is actually over ten kilometers high in many places. Finally a really weird moon that not enough people talk about is Triton, which is actually a moon of Neptune. And Triton is actually larger than Pluto. It’s Neptune’s largest moon and it actually rotates in the opposite direction of Neptune. It’s thought that Triton was originally a Kuiper belt object, a binary system in fact, that Neptune stole away from its partner. Not cool, Neptune. Anyway, when Triton fell into Neptune’s embrace, it’s thought that it could perhaps have been a liquid water planet, or a liquid something planet, for a billion years thanks to the tidal heating caused by Neptune. But what’s even cooler is that Triton to this day might still have a liquid water ocean beneath its icy surface. I know it’s crazy to think about that there might actually be a subsurface ocean all the way out in our solar system as far away as Neptune, but it’s true that this is something that could be a real possibility. What’s also amazing is that Triton is geologically active. It has ice geysers and ice volcanoes, which help give it a thin atmosphere. So, those are my favorite little weird oddballs of our solar system. You may disagree with me. Actually I expect you to! But there’s a lot of weird moons in our solar system that I love learning about. My favorite, of course, is Enceladus, which I did an entirely separate video about, which you can check out. And Europa is also everyone’s fan favorite which I will no doubt do a video about at some point. That’s it for me this week, so leave a comment with what your weirdest, favorite, awkward moon is in our solar system. And remember to go to Patreon
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