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This is an image of Proteus, a moon of Neptune.
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Evolution of Small Moons

The small moons are too small to be seen, so not much is known about their surface or composition. With no knowledge of the composition, and no clues from the surface, little can be determined about the course of their history. Nevertheless, from the location of some of the moons, as well as their shape, it can be said that some moons are pieces of a larger moon, or are captured asteroids. Examples of moons such as these are Epimetheus, Janus, and Hyperion.

It is thought that most small moons are composed of ice, however. Therefore their evolution would follow a similar course to that of other icy moons.


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Amalthea

Amalthea was discovered by E Barnard in 1872. Of the 17 moons it is the 3rd closest to Jupiter, with a standoff distance of 181,300 km. Amalthea is about the size of a county or small state, and is just...more

Callisto

Callisto was first discovered by Galileo in 1610, making it one of the Galilean Satellites. Of the 60 moons it is the 8th closest to Jupiter, with a standoff distance of 1,070,000 km. It is the 2nd largest...more

Evolution of Callisto

The insides of most of the moons and planets separated while they were forming out of the primitive solar nebula. Measurements by the Galileo spacecraft have been shown that Callisto is the same inside...more

Very Large Impact Crater

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Surface of Callisto

The surface of Callisto is deeply pockmarked with craters. It looks to be perhaps the most severely cratered body in the solar system. There are also very large craters to be found there. The severity...more

Europa

Europa was first discovered by Galileo in 1610, making it one of the Galilean Satellites. It is Jupiter's 4th largest moon, 670,900 km from Jupiter. With a diameter that is about half the distance across...more

The Atmosphere of Europa

The Galileo mission discovered something amazing! Europa has its own atmosphere, although it is very, very thin. This atmosphere is created when fast moving molecules in Jupiter's magnetosphere hit the...more

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