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Surface of Triton

Target Name:  Triton
Spacecraft:  Voyager 2
Produced by:  NASA/JPL
Copyright: NASA Copyright Free Policy
Date Released: August 27, 1989

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This is one of the most detailed views of the surface of Triton taken by Voyager 2 on its flyby of the large satellite of Neptune early in the morning of Aug. 25, 1989. The picture was stored on the tape recorder and relayed to Earth later. Taken from a distance of only 40,000 km (25,000 miles), the frame is about 220 kilometers (140 miles) across and shows details as small as 750 meters (0.5 miles). Most of the area is covered by a peculiar ladnscape of roughly circular depressions separated by rugged ridges. This type of terrain, which covers large tracts of Triton's northern hemisphere, is unlike anything seen elsewhere in the solar system. The depressions are probably not impact craters: They are too similar in size and too regularly spaced. Their origin is still unknown, but may involve local melting and collapse of the icy surface. A conspicuous set of grooves and ridges cuts across the landscape, indicating fracturing and deformation of Triton's surface. The rarity of impact craters suggests a young surface by solarsystem standards, probably less than a few billion years old.

Copyright © 1995-2013 by Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.