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A startling study has revealed that one of Saturn's main moons contains a small ocean beneath its surface

A startling study has revealed that one of Saturn's main moons contains a small ocean beneath its surface

The ocean of Mimas has characteristics different from those observed on other moons in the solar system.
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Thanks to the tremendous work carried out 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.

Other natural satellites of our solar system, e.g Ganymede, Europa, Titan and Enceladus They also have oceans.

Until long ago it was believed that Mimas It wasn't the best candidate for having an extraterrestrial ocean as its rough surface suggested it was The inside of it was completely solid.

However, the results of the study Recently published by the magazine nature They made a huge twist on this story. Under the floor of Mimas, specifically at a depth of up to 30 km, They 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 unusual happened in Mimas About 10 years ago, scientists realized this because of the anomalies they noticed The natural rotation of this satellite.

Saturn's moon Mimas
The research team relied on data emitted from the Cassini spacecraft's flyby near Mimas.

The uncertainty discovered by scientists It was an excellent motivation to continue the investigation, because some surprises were waiting for them. The interior of this moon of Saturn.

With the evidence obtained, the research team concluded that It is very likely that there is an ocean beneath the surface of Mimas.

The results are not yet tangible Because unlike what happens with the oceans of other natural satellites, Mimas does not offer geological activities or geysers, which is an indication that… There is water making its way to the surface.

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Jupiter's moon Europa
A view of Jupiter from Europa, where one of its moons has been confirmed to contain oceans.

The study authors explain that it is likely The Mimas Ocean is relatively new, Because he has not yet been able to reach its surface.

What will happen now? Scientists will continue to scrutinize the data that is recorded, as time passes The ocean of Mimas will want to explore outer space For this to happen, its surface must begin to show signs of fractures.

News reference:

Linney, V., Rambo, N., Toby, G. et al. A recently formed ocean inside Saturn's moon Mimas. nature 626 (2024).