Mimas is one of Saturn’s moons and, as is already known about other moons, it may have an ocean beneath its surface, which may still be new and growing, a new study says. In which data from the Cassini probe has been analyzed.
This evidence has been found by a team led by the Paris Observatory, which published its findings this Wednesday in Nature.
Mimas and Enceladus, discovered by William Herschel in 1789, are two of Saturn’s many satellites, both have orbits not far apart, are similar in size and have icy surfaces, but the first is full of craters and the second is smooth.
While Enceladus is already known to have a frozen ocean inside it, what was beneath the crust of Mimas remained a mystery and was unlikely to contain water due to the properties of its surface and craters.
But a team led by Valéry Lany of the Paris Observatory challenged that belief and analyzed the Cassini probe’s observations of Saturn and its moons over more than a decade.
The result is evidence of the existence of a deep ocean, which begins between 20 and 30 kilometers beneath the crust. According to simulations, the water mass appeared 25 to 2 million years ago, so it is still young and would not have had time to leave marks on the surface of Minas, which would allow it to preserve its craters.
Previous research opened up two scenarios for this small moon’s interior: an elongated rocky core or a global ocean.
The team analyzed internal temperature, rotation speed and orbit, parameters that are affected by conditions inside the moon, and concluded that the existence of an internal global ocean beneath the surface is the only scenario consistent with the observations.
This search adds Mimas to “The exclusive club of moons with internal oceans, including Enceladus and Europa, But with a unique difference: its ocean is remarkably young,” highlighted Nick Cooper, at Queen Mary University of London and a co-signer of the study.
The authors say these results suggest that recent processes on Mimas may have been common in the early stages of the formation of other icy worlds, and they believe that new studies on this satellite will reveal more about the formation of icy worlds. Can teach.
Existence of recently formed liquid water ocean “Makes Mimas an ideal candidate for researchers studying the origins of life”Cooper said.
Laney, for his part, emphasized that this discovery “Important implications for our understanding of the possibility of life beyond Earth”Suggesting that even small, seemingly inactive moons may harbor hidden oceans capable of supporting the conditions necessary for life.
“This opens up new avenues of exploration, which – he speculated – could bring us closer to the answer to the old question: Are we alone in the universe?”