Mercury and Venus have no moons; several Grateful Dead songs would not have been written if Robert Hunter lived on Mercury or Venus.
Earth has one moon, the Moon. (Isn’t that like naming a child “Human?”) By ratio, it is the largest satellite in the solar system–one-quarter of Earth’s diameter–and it gives us the tides and the werewolfs. Every culture worshiped the moon just as they did the sun, and twelve Americans shuffled around up there. One even golfed.
Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, and they are tiny. Phobos is 7 miles across and Deimos is smaller, plus neither of them are even spherical. Y’know what? Fuck you, Phobos and Deimos. You are not moons. You are big asteroids. You can’t be in the Moon Club.
Jupiter has 51 moons, but 47 of them are bullshit. Galileo saw the four big ones in 1610 and was so excited that he immediately began to do the fandango. He named them Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto and we call them the Galilean moons. Io is where volcanoes live, more than 100 spewing mountains taller than Everest. Europa is covered with 60 miles of ice, and under that is an ocean of liquid water heated by the moon’s core; we should attempt no landings there. Ganymede and Callisto are both bigger than the Moon, but no one writes songs about them. Checkmate, Ganymede and Callisto.
Saturn has 36 moons, but 29 are bullshit. Titan is the biggest because otherwise it wouldn’t be named that. It’s the only moon in the solar system with a thick atmosphere, mostly methane. We sent a robot there. It looks like this:
Look at what we can do when we try.
The other non-bullshit moons of Saturn are Rhea, Iapetus, Dione, and Tethys. Also Enceladus, which is the reason I’m writing this. Enceladus might have life on it, which I hope works out better for Enceladus than it did for us. Choke life in its cradle, Enceladus. Let it evolve for a couple billion years and it’ll fuck up your atmosphere and dump shit in your rivers. Trust me: life is a hassle.
Uranus has four moons and I’m just going to move on.
Neptune has Triton, which orbits in reverse and has very few shopping malls.
Pluto doesn’t get to have a moon anymore because Pluto isn’t a planet anymore.