So long, Hyperion, and thanks for all the sponges

Hyperion is a weird little moon, tumbling chaotically around Saturn and looking for all the world like a giant sea sponge.  It’s spongy inside too — judging by its density and composition, planetary scientists have deduced that it’s more of a giant rubble pile than a solid world.

The Cassini spacecraft has been a marvel especially for Hyperion, returning by far the best images ever taken of the little lump.  But this last May saw its final visit to Hyperion, a distant flyby at 34,000 km on May 31.  So, let’s all say farewell to this weird little rock for now:


Cassini’s parting shot of Hyperion’s battered surface — craters within craters upon other craters, dusted oddly with black on their floors.



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