Saturn’s moon Mimas may hide buried oceans under its “dead” surface

A new study finds that Saturn’s small icy moon Mimas may be a world with “hidden” oceans.

Mimas is thought to generate enough heat to support a subterranean ocean of liquid water, and recent simulations of a Herschel impact basin on the Moon, the most prominent crater surface feature, show no tectonic movement, according to a statement from the Southwest Research Institute. SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas, supports a small inner ocean surrounded by a thin ice crust.

Mimas is the smallest known astronomical body because it is still round due to its gravity, and the moon is also known as Saturn-1 because it is the closest planet to the ringed planet.

And when we look at a body like Mimas, it is a small, cold, dead rock, and some scientists call the moon a “scar” because of the very large crater that marks its surface, which some call the “death star” and which has been compared to the world. “star Wars”.

“During the final days of NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, the spacecraft detected a strange wobble, or wobble, in the rotation of Mimas, often indicative of a geologically active object,” said Alyssa Roden, one of the authors of the new study. The scientist of the Southwest Research Institute is able to support the local environment.

However, despite this variability, Mimas’ cratered surface led scientists to initially consider the moon a frozen mass of ice. This is because most ocean worlds — like Enceladus, one of Saturn’s other moons — tend to split up and show other signs of geological activity. However, Mimas lack any distinct tectonic features.

Scientists say the shaking/wobbles detected by Cassini indicate that the interior of Mimas is warm enough for a liquid ocean, but not hot enough to damage the moon’s thick, icy crust.

When modeling the formation of the Herschel Impact Basin, scientists found that Mimas’ ice crust must have been at least 34 miles (55 km) thick at the time of the impact. Meanwhile, observations of Mimas and models of its internal heating indicate that the current ice sheet is less than 19 miles (30 km) thick.

These measurements show that the inner ocean has been warming and expanding since the formation of the basin. Furthermore, the scientists were only able to reconstruct the shape of the pelvis when analyzing the internal environment in their models.

“We found that Herschel could not grow to an ice crust of its current thickness without eliminating the ice crust at the impact site,” study co-author Aden Denton, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona, noted in the release. If Mimas had an ocean today, it would be: “The ice sheet has been thin since the formation of Herschel, which may also explain the lack of a rift on Mimas. Viability of all of Saturn’s intermediate moons.

These new models challenge scientists’ current understanding of thermodynamic evolution, Rudin said in the statement.

He continued: “It seems that the surface of Mimas has deceived us, and our new understanding has expanded the definition of a potentially habitable world in the solar system and beyond.”

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