A moon is defined as a natural satellite that orbits a larger body--such as a planet--that, in turn, orbits a star. The moon is kept in its position both by the gravity of the object that it circles, as well as by its own gravity. Some planets are orbited by moons; some are not. Some dwarf planets--such as Pluto--possess moons. In fact, one of Pluto's moons, named Charon, is almost half the size of Pluto itself, and some planetary scientists think that Charon is really a chunk of Pluto that was torn off in a disastrous collision with another object very long ago. In addition, some asteroids are also known to be orbited by very small moons.
GRAIL has also generated new maps showing lunar crustal thickness. These maps have managed to uncover still more large impact basins on the near-side hemisphere of Earth's Moon--revealing that there are fewer such basins on the far-side, which is the side that is always turned away from Earth. This observation begs the question: How could this be if both hemispheres were on the receiving end of the same number of crashing, impacting, crater-excavating projectiles? According to GRAIL data, the answer to this riddle is that most of the volcanic eruptions on Earth's Moon occurred on its near-side hemisphere.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative endeavor by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for NASA.