Saturn’s ‘Demise Star’ moon has a secret ocean

According to the Worldwide Astronomical Union (IAU), the planet Saturn boasts 146 satellites, amongst which is the moon Mimas.

A examine carried out by astronomer Valery Lainey means that Mimas hosts a liquid ocean, estimated to be 20 to 30 kilometers deep, which units it aside from different satellites in our photo voltaic system. This celestial physique has earned the nickname ‘Demise Star’ attributable to its resemblance to the fictional one depicted within the film ‘Star Wars’.

Initially, the notion of an ocean on Mimas was dismissed due to its look as a seamless, cratered, icy object. Some research proposed that the moon possessed an elongated rocky core, however subsequent findings invalidated this concept as it will require the moon to have a pancake-like form.

The origin of the ocean

Latest analysis means that the presence of an ocean on the ‘Demise Moon’ may very well be attributed to interactions that occurred over 50 million years in the past between Mimas and different moons orbiting Saturn.

These interactions may need altered the moon’s orbit right into a extra oval form and induced inside heating, as reported by Science.

“Mimas presents a singular alternative to analyze melt-induced differentiation and intensive aqueous alteration ensuing from water-rock interactions,” Lainey defined within the paper.

“Mimas may provide insights into the previous evolution of Enceladus and different icy worlds which might be presently inactive, equivalent to Uranus’ moons and objects within the Kuiper Belt. Aqueous mineral alteration on icy worlds is understood to happen quickly in geological phrases, usually over tens of millions to tens of tens of millions of years. Mimas may very well be one of many few locations the place such processes are presently unfolding.”

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