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Iapetus

Image of Iapetus
YIN AND YANG: Iapetus has been called the ‘yin and yang’ of Saturn’s moons because the surface of one of its hemispheres is dark, about as reflective as coal, while the other is much brighter. In many places, the dark material—thought to be composed of nitrogen-bearing organic compounds called cyanides, hydrated minerals, and other carbonaceous minerals—appears to coat equator-facing slopes and crater floors. This hemisphere of Iapetus appears heavily cratered, particularly in the north and south polar regions. The most prominent topographic feature is a 450km-wide impact basin, one of at least nine such large basins on Iapetus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
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