They discovered in Saturn’s moon the signal of a “new class of “small oceanic” ghost worlds

Posted:

22 one 2022 02:30 GMT

Experts say the discovery “significantly broadens the definition of the potentially habitable world in our solar system and beyond.”

Scientists at Southwest Research Institute (USA) recently published a file study in the journal Icarus, where they suggested that Mimas, one of Saturn’s moons, liquid inner perimeter.

“If Mimas has an ocean, it represents a new class of ‘ghost’ small ocean worlds,” He said Alyssa Roden, lead author of the study and icy satellite geophysicist.

While planets like Earth (with surface oceans) must live within a narrow range of distances from their stars to maintain the temperatures that support those liquid oceans, there are so-called inner water worlds (IWOWs), which are within a distance range much wider.

“Because Mimas’ surface is heavily cratered, we thought it was just a frozen block of ice,” Roden explained. “IWOWs, such as Enceladus and Europa, tend to crack and show other signs of geological activity. It turns out that the surface of Mimas has been playing tricks on us, and our new understanding has expanded the definition of the world significantly.” Possibly habitable in our solar system and beyond.

The researchers assert that Mimas’ surface heating must be large enough to prevent the ocean from freezing, but small enough to maintain a thick layer of ice covering it.

The team also found that surface heat flux was highly sensitive to the thickness of the ice sheet.

“Although our results support the existence of a circumference within Mimas, Which is the challenge Reconcile the geological and orbital characteristics of that moon with our current understanding of its orbital-thermal evolution.”

The researcher concludes that “evaluation of Mimas’ status as an oceanic moon will be a criterion for models of its formation and evolution,” which will help researchers. I understand better The rings and moons of Saturn are medium in size, as well as the prevalence of potentially habitable ocean moons, especially on Uranus.

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