September 28, 2023
Mimas may have a liquid ocean beneath its surface in orbit around Saturn

Mimas may have a liquid ocean beneath its surface in orbit around Saturn

a Pampers Moon, from the planet Saturn, appears to have a liquid ocean inside, hidden by a thick layer of ice. This possibility is highlighted in the data from Cassini missionGive NASA, which identified a strange oscillation in the moon’s rotation. This oscillation, called ‘vibration’, usually indicates that the object in question is geologically active and that it could support an underground ocean.

The discovery of ocean worlds hidden under layers of rock and ice is common in the United States Solar System It was one of the most distinguished planetary sciences of the past 25 years. While planets like Earth, which have oceans on their surface, should be certain distances from their stars To keep water in a liquid state, those with oceans of “inland” water have more varied distances from their stars.

Mimas (left) and Enceladus (right) may have a common denominator: an inner ocean under a thick layer of ice.

These quantum realms have been expanded Possible places habitable across the galaxy. In the case of Mimas, there were so many craters on its surface that scientists thought it was a large block of ice, but the mission Cassini showed Perhaps this was not the case. “In fact, we fooled the surface of Mimas, and our new understanding has broadened the definition of the potentially habitable world in the Solar System and beyond,” said Dr. Alyssa Roden, lead author of the new study.

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Possible ocean origins on Mimas

What the study authors noted in Mimas may be a result of tides due to gravitational interactions between the Moon and Saturn, which dissipate orbital and rotational energy through heat. To match the possible internal structure of the Moon, indicated by vibration, the tidal heat inside the Moon must be intense enough to prevent the ocean from freezing but weak enough to maintain a thin layer of ice.

So, with tidal heating models, the team developed numerical methods to arrive at the most plausible explanation for an ice sheet up to 30 km thick, covering a liquid ocean. “This time, the evidence for an inland ocean jumped out from more realistic scenarios for ice sheet stability and observed oscillations,” the author said. They also found that the surface heat flow is very sensitive to the thickness of the layer.

The Juno spacecraft can study Jupiter’s moon Europa to gather data that will help shed light on how heat affects ice sheets on moons like Mimas.)

Fortunately, this feature can be checked by any task that has already been sent there. For example, file Juno probe, studying Jupiter Since 2016, it can fly over Europa and use a microwave radiometer to measure heat flows there. Then, the data obtained could help scientists understand how heat flow affects ice sheets on worlds with subterranean oceans, such as Mimas.

Roden thinks that the evaluation of the condition Pampers are like the moon With an ocean beneath its crust it would be a way to use it as a reference for models of its formation and evolution. “This will help us better understand Saturn’s rings and medium-sized moons, as well as the proliferation of moons with habitable oceans, particularly on UranusHe explained. “Mimas is an attractive object for us to investigate further.”

The article containing the study results was published in the journal Icarus.

source: Icarus; via: SwRI