There is also a hidden ocean on another moon of Saturn: it is located between 20 and 30 kilometers below the icy surface of Mimas, the small moon incredibly similar to the Death Star from Star Wars. With the discovery, published in the journal Nature, the number of worlds in the Solar System that are rich in water inside them increases. The research was coordinated by Valery Lainey, of the Paris Observatory, and is based on data from the Cassini probe, the mission history of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency concluded in 2017.
Until now, the presence of oceans hidden under the icy surface of another moon of Saturn, Enceladus, and then on Europa, a moon of Jupiter, was known. In both cases those oceans are made of liquid water and could have all the conditions necessary to host any life forms. The two could now be added to Mimas, the innermost of Saturn's moons, observed for the first time by William Herschel[ in 1789.
Some 'oddities' were already known about this moon: Mimas has a very low density (which is why it is believed to be almost entirely composed of frozen water), it is strongly flattened and during its rotation it makes a series of oscillations. Until now it was believed that it had an asymmetric rocky core at its centre, but new data indicate that the presence of a layer of liquid water beneath the frozen surface would alter its rotation.
The ocean would have formed only in recent times, between 25 and 2 million years ago, and for this reason it did not produce any visible signs on the surface, such as the geysers or fractures that are instead evident on Europa and Enceladus.
A discovery that now makes Mimas of great interest to astronomers, after the fascination it has long gained among science fiction enthusiasts due to its incredible resemblance to the Death Star from Star Wars, a weapon of destruction the size of a small satellite and which has a large hole from which it produces a destructive laser beam. The similarity is mainly due to the large impact crater and is completely coincidental given that the film was released three years before the first close-up photographs of this moon, taken by the Voyager 1 probe.
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