Neptune’s moon Triton is one of the strangest worlds in the solar system — and that’s why scientists are exploring mission concepts that could give them a detailed look at it.
It’s a large moon, the seventh largest in our solar system, and scientists think it was born in the Kuiper Belt before falling into its current location in orbit around the most distant planet. But that journey took its toll on Triton: Neptune‘s gravity pulls on it so strongly that the moon’s icy surface may hide a subsurface liquid ocean. And the glimpse Voyager 2 offered of its surface suggests that Triton was geologically active as recently as 10 million years ago.
“They said the magic word, Triton, and I said, where do I sign up?” Louise Procktor, a planetary geologist and director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Texas and a scientist working on a mission concept called Trident, told Space.com. “We know enough [about Triton] to be dangerous. We know a little bit about it, but there’s so much we don’t know”.
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