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A Chain of Craters

A portion of a chain of impact craters on Jupiter's moon Callisto is seen in this image taken by the Galileo spacecraft on November 4, 1996. This crater chain is believed to result from the impact of a split object, similar to the fragments of Comet Shoemaker- Levy 9 that smashed into Jupiter's atmosphere in July of 1994. On a global scale, Callisto is heavily cratered, indicating the great age of its surface. At the scale of this image, it was anticipated that the surface would be heavily cratered as well; however, there is a surprising lack of small craters, suggesting that one or more processes have obliterated these and other small-scale features.

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