A surprising study has revealed that one of Saturn’s main moons has a small ocean beneath its surface.

saturn sunlight background
The characteristics of the Mimas ocean are different from those observed on other moons in the Solar System.
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Thanks for the tremendous work done since 1789 by astronomer William Herschel – of British and German origin – today we know that Saturn has moons Mimas is one of the most important among them.

Other natural satellites in our solar system, such as Ganymede, Europa, Titan and Enceladus They also have oceans.

Until recently it was thought that Mimas It was not an optimal candidate for hosting an extraterrestrial ocean as its rough surface suggested Its interior was absolutely solid.

However, the results of the study Recently published by the magazine Nature He gave a turning point in this story. Beneath the floor of Mimas, especially at depths down to 30 km, He discovered the existence of a small ocean.

The ocean on Mimas is very different from the oceans on other moons in the Solar System

something extraordinary happened in mimas And about 10 years ago scientists realized this due to the anomalies observed in Rotation of this natural satellite.

saturn's moon mimas
The research team relied on data emitted by the Cassini spacecraft’s flybys of Mimas.

The uncertainty that scientists discovered This was an excellent motivation to continue the investigation, as there were some surprises in store for them. The interior of this moon of Saturn.

Based on the evidence obtained, the research team concluded that It is very possible that an ocean exists beneath the surface of Mimas.

The results are not concrete yet, Because unlike what happens with the oceans of other natural satellites, there is no geological activity or geysers present in Mimas, which is an indication that Water is making its way to the surface.

Jupiter's moon Europa
View of Jupiter from Europa, with one of its moons confirmed to have an ocean.

The study authors say it’s likely The Mimas Ocean is relatively new, Since it has not yet been able to reach its surface.

What is to be done now? Scientists will continue to examine the recorded data over time Mimas Ocean would like to explore outer space And for this to happen, signs of fracture must begin to appear on its surface.

News reference:

Laney, V., Rambox, N., Toby, G. et al. A recently formed ocean inside Saturn’s moon Mimas. Nature 626 (2024).

(TagstoTranslate)NASA(T)Saturn(T)Ocean(T)Astronomy(T)Solar System

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