One of Saturn's Moons Could Have a Subterranean Sea

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NASA scientists have been taking a closer look at Saturn's moon Mimas thanks to Cassini's roving eyes, and they've made an interesting discovery: it could have an ocean of water beneath its surface.


The researchers have noticed that the moon has a more pronounced wobble than they thought as it orbits Saturn. Comparing the observed new wobble to computational models suggests one of two possibilities: either the moon has a frozen core shaped like a football, or the satellite contains a liquid water ocean beneath its surface.

The ocean theory would require a global sea, around 30 kilometers below the surface, to explain the strange wobble. However, the scientists reckon that—given the surface conditions of the moon—it's more likely that its core is an unusual shape.

If it is a result of water, it won't be the first moon in the Solar System to prove damp. Enceladus, for instance, jets out water at its south pole, while Titan has a network of rivers and lakes—though they're filled with liquid ethane and methane, not water.

Further modelling and inspection by Cassini will likely decide which theory is most likely. [NASA]

Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute



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