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Smiley on Iapetus 3/21/08

Here's Smiley at home. I've brightened the image to make him more visible; keep in mind it's a black and white world, the most contrasting in the solar system.


I'd like to dedicate Smiley to the memory of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who died just as I was finishing these galleries. And of course to the scientists who gave us these amazing images.

In Clarke's novel for 2001: A Space Odyssey the mysterious Black Monolith stands at the center of the round expanse of black terrain. The black material and how it got there are still big mysteries.


As is the weirdest mountain range in the solar system, that strange ridge, like the equator of a walnut, that runs across the planet over Smiley's head. It's called the Great Wall. Presumably Smiley is there to guard it, or perhaps, like the wall on Skull Island, it's there to contain him.

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Taken on March 21, 2008