Saturn, of course, has bizarre moons, and astronomers believe that they are close to unraveling the formation of a surface structure on one of them.
The Japet is nearly 1000 miles wide and has a 78-day orbit around a ringed gas giant. But one hemisphere of Saturn is constantly directed towards Saturn. In the same way, the Moon is directed to Earth all the time by one side. Therefore, Yapet has an obvious surface bipolarity.
There is an equatorial mountain range on Yapet, over whose origin hundreds of scientists puzzle. Now, using a 3D map consisting of Cassini data, the researchers believe that they have the most likely hypothesis of its occurrence.
The dark and light side of Iapetus
As a rule, mountains on Earth are formed as a result of side effects of tectonic plate movements and volcanic activity. Alas, nothing like that happens on Japet. In addition, mountains that are 6 miles high are too steep for their origin to be explained by ordinary orogenic mechanisms. So how did this ridge form? Researchers believe that the material that makes up the mountains has an “exogenous” origin. In other words, he came from space. In a document submitted to arXive, the researchers point to a possible collision between Yapet and another planetary body that created a huge amount of garbage. This debris flew into orbit around the equator of Yapet and, eventually, in the form of rain fell on its surface and formed the equatorial mountains.
The Japet, captured by the Cassini probe in 2004
Another theory suggests that Japet may have had his own moon, which disintegrated under the influence of gravity, creating a ring system, and collapsed on the surface of Iapetus.
But whatever the theory, all scientists agree that Yapet could not create a mountain range without help from outside.