La luna Mimas de Saturno podría esconder un océano bajo una capa de hielo de hasta 31 kilómetros de espesor, sugiere un nuevo estudio

Saturn’s moon Mimas is covered in a layer of ice up to 19 miles thick, but astronomers believe there is a hidden ocean, which remains buried deep within its thick icy surface.

Although measurements made in 2014 by NASA’s Cassini probe showed that the celestial body wobbles as it rotates, suggesting that something strange is happening under the ice, hinting that there might be some water, this has not been corroborated so far. . Simulations by the Southwest Research Institute (USA) suggest that there is water deep within the ice sheet, says a recent study, published in Icarus magazine.

“When we observe a body like Mimas, looks like a small cold dead rock“, he pointed this Tuesday Alyssa Rhoden, lead author of the investigation, to New Scientist. “If you put Mimas in a gallery with a bunch of other icy moons, you’d never look at her and say ‘oh, that one has an ocean,'” he added.

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By exploring the size and formation predictions of the satellite – which has a slightly smaller total surface area than that of Spain – the team determined that its internal heat would be enough to sustain a global ocean of liquid water, 15 to 19 miles below a thick crust of ice, deep enough not to crack the surface.

According to the researchers, a combination of tidal warming, caused by the pull of Saturn, influenced the development of the inland ocean, as well as its eccentricity and oscillation. “Using the most reasonable assumptions, we found that Mimas would have the currently suggested ocean and ice shell thicknesses,” said Rhoden. “This I would place it in the category of ‘stealth worlds’In other words, icy moons with an unexpected ocean buried under their surface, “he added.

The researcher explained that there are many icy satellites in our solar system, and “if Mimas could be an ocean world, any of them could be“The more we understand the pathways by which an ocean can form, the more we are going to learn about the habitats available in our solar system,” he concluded.

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