An international team led by researchers from the Paris Observatory conducted a new study after discovering a massive underground ocean hidden beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s small moon Mimas earlier this year. This time to reveal how this puddle of liquid water was formed..

New research, recently published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, says there could be a moon with a radius of just under 200 kilometers. As orbital eccentricity decreased, from a more elongated shape to a more circular shape, a sizeable subsurface ocean developed..

Proximity to Saturn caused by planetary gravity may have caused the moon’s icy crust to melt and thin. “We believe that the heat source responsible for the thinning of the crust is tidal heating,” Planetary Science Institute senior scientist Matthew E. Walker, co-author of the current study, said in a statement.

How did Saturn’s “Death Star” get its ocean?

Walker explains that this energy produced by tidal heating does not appear out of thin air, but is captured from the moon’s orbital motion and eventually used. This is because, As tidal heat melts the ice shell, some of the energy used in the process is removed from the moon’s orbit.In other words, it loses energy as its interior heats up.

This loss of orbital energy causes the eccentricity of the small orbital satellite to decrease until it reaches zero; At this point the lunar orbit becomes completely circular. When this occurs, tidal forces can no longer produce enough heat and warming tends to stop altogether.

In the case of Mimas, The melting must have started when you moved away was still two to three times larger than the current onel. According to the statement, analyzes of the evolution of the geology of the lunar surface show that the decrease in the thickness of the ice sheet has decreased over the last 10 million years.

Mimas Moon may have begun melting 25 million years ago

Illustration of ice sheet decline and Mimas' eccentricity.

Mimas, popularly known as the “Death Star” due to the Herschel crater that gives the Moon an appearance similar to the iconic military space station of the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars movie, has an estimated thickness of 70 kilometers today, consisting of its outer hydrosphere. It consists of ice and liquid.

“We may be seeing Mimas at a particularly interesting time,” Walker says. The entire process would have to have started no more than 25 million years ago for the thickness of the ice sheet to match its current eccentricity and width. This means that the Moon was completely frozen between 10 and 25 million years ago. Walker says he began to melt down in a process that is under investigation.

Source: Tec Mundo

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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