Spacecraft Connector

"Cassini's seven-plus years... have shown us how beautifully dynamic and unexpected the Saturn system is," commented project scientist Dr. Linda Spilker of NASA's JPL to Time Magazine's online edition on March 23, 2012. Only recently have space missions begun to solve this beguiling Solar System mystery--that a small number of distant moons have been successfully hiding, from the curious eyes of astronomers, life-sustaining liquid water beneath secretive shells of ice. Most of the moons of our Sun's family circle the quartet of large gaseous planets located in our Solar System's outer limits: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The four solid inner planets--Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars--are almost entirely moonless. Earth is the only inner planet that hosts a large Moon, while Mars sports only a pathetic duo of misshapen little Moons (Phobos and Deimos), that are either captured asteroids that escaped from the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, or are instead the outcome of a primordial collision between Mars and a large protoplanet.