Meet Hyperion, the spongy space potato that shocked our spacecraft
The Cassini spacecraft has documented another one of Saturn’s moons, and it bears very little relation to its neighbor Enceladus. Instead of a globe with a hard outer surface, the moon Hyperion is instead being compared to a spongy potato.
The oblong satellite is roughly spud-shaped, with an outer texture so pocked by craters it looks like a sponge or a blasted piece of pumice. It’s thought to be made mostly of water ice, with smaller amounts of rock lending it a redish brown color, further completing the potato analogy.
While we’re not expecting to find life on this moon, it’s not completely inert either. When the Cassini spacecraft first flew by the moon, it was hit by a 200 volt electrostatic charge from Hyperion. This kind of static charge is thought be present throughout the galaxy, including on our own Moon. In this case, the discharge, made over a 2,000km distance, did not damage the spacecraft.
Source: Saturn's sponge-like moon captured in glorious detail by Press Association, The Guardian