Anyone up for some interplanetary mountaineering?
New close-up photos of Saturn’s “Death Star moon” Mimas show the world’s untouched, craggy cliffs and craters calling out for exploration.
Just imagine strapping on your hiking boots and bouncing across the tree-free, low-gravity landscape, checking out the alien moon’s best views from above its pockmarked surface.
The vantage point would also be unbelievable for another reason: If you were to look out at the horizon from Mimas’ surface, Saturn itself would be looming in the distance.
Mimas — which garnered its Star Wars-inspired nickname thanks to a distinctive crater that makes it look somewhat like the Death Star — isn’t the only place in the solar system with tempting climbing and hiking spots.
Mars’ fragile rock formations, carved at least in part by wind blowing across the planet’s surface over millions of years, look like any Earth-bound rock climber’s dream.
Doesn’t that make you just a little jealous of the Curiosity rover?
While the Martian rocks might be a bit too fragile for any proper climbing, the planet still plays host to plenty of mountains, including Olympus Mons, a huge volcano that stretches higher than Mount Everest.
If you’re into ice climbing, on the other hand, Pluto’s mountains are probably the best place in the solar system for it.
The high peaks spotted by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby of the dwarf planet in 2015 are completely comprised of water-ice. Some of them stretch up to the height of the Rocky Mountains.
Also, if you’re interested in a good ridge hike, check out Iapetus, another one of Saturn’s moons.
The odd-looking moon has a rocky ridge made up of a “chain of 6-mile (10-km) high mountains” that stretch around its equator, according to NASA.
The new photos of Mimas were taken by the Cassini spacecraft, which has been exploring Saturn and its moons on our behalf for more than a decade.
These photos are actually Cassini’s final close-up views of Mimas, taken when the probe was 28,000 miles from the moon’s surface, according to NASA.
In September, the long-lived mission will come to an end when the probe performs a death-dive into the thick atmosphere of the planet it has been studying for the past 13 years.