Scientists have discovered an ocean buried deep within the surface of the moon Mimas which is a moon of Saturn. The thin global ocean is miles beneath the icy surface of the moon, and is raising a lot of conversation around the idea of ‘life friendly’ habitat in the solar system.
This might be a solid explanation as to why the moon wobbles while it orbits around Saturn, citing that the water of the large ocean on the 400-mile moon could be causing the tipping. The other possibility is that the moon has an oblong shaped core, which would cause the moon to behave as it does while in orbit.
However, this presents a unique question to anyone evaluating life on the moon. This would serve as the second option in terms of distinguishing other places in the solar system where life is possible. “If Mimas does have an ocean, this would definitely be another interesting body in the solar system to be added to list of potential ‘life-friendly’ environments, said Radwan Tajeddine, a research associate in Cornell University’s astronomy department.
Interestingly, the off-balance orbit could actually cause heating and freezing of bodies of water, and the friction could have been enough to at one time cause and form an ocean – which would eventually be expanded to what it is likely to be today.
The temperature is important because it’s ultimately what keeps the water and the shape in touch with what it is currently, and that if it continues to orbit as it does today – which it likely would – bearing an unforeseen or random event – the ocean is completely logical.
This will spur a lot of research into Saturn’s moons. Now that water has been detected here, it will give scientists additional places to look in terms of finding additional places around the planet that life could be possible, though it’s widely thought that this moon is exclusive.
Scientists will need to continue studying the core of the moon, as well as the surface and orbit to further understand why the moon acts as it does, and seems to boast an atmosphere, below the surface that can handle the heating up and cooling down that is present and forming the oceans that are expected to inhabit the rocky moon.
Also, it’s believed that the oblong shape of the moon plays a vital role in the moon and its contents.