The satellite Mimas, the smallest and inner moon of Saturn, has been the subject of recent studies that point to the existence of a liquid ocean in its interior. This statement is based on the results of the Cassini mission, which carried out studies of the moon over several years.
We are not talking about a moon like Europa, on Jupiter, since it does not have an ice crust. In fact, no one would say that it has water inside, it looks like a simple stone 400 km in diameter, but everything seems to indicate that there is water.
Herschel crater, located on the surface of Mimas, is an impact basin that makes the moon resemble the “death star” from Star Wars. According to NASA astrophysicists, the absence of tectonics at Mimas and the presence of Herschel are consistent with a thinning ice sheet and a geologically young ocean.
The models showed that, at the moment of the Herschel-forming impact, the Mimas ice sheet had to be at least 55 kilometers thick. However, NASA observations limit the current thickness of the ice sheet to less than 30 kilometers.
These results suggest that a current ocean within Mimas must have been warming and expanding since Herschel formed. However, it is also possible that Mimas was completely frozen both at the time of Herschel’s impact and today.
Evaluating the status of Mimas as an oceanic moon could serve as a reference to better understand its formation and evolution, as well as the prevalence of potentially habitable oceanic moons in the Solar System. Also, studying Mimas could help to better understand Saturn’s rings and medium-sized moons.
Although there is still much to discover about this moon, it is an attractive target for future research to better understand the composition and evolution of celestial bodies in the Solar System.
Other oceans in the solar system
In addition to the possible presence of an ocean on Saturn’s innermost moon, Mimas, other objects in the solar system may also have hidden oceans:
– Europe, one of Jupiter’s moons, is one of the strongest candidates for an underground ocean. Evidence suggests that Europa has a thick ice sheet covering a liquid ocean below its surface.
– enceladus, another moon of Saturn, may also have an underground ocean. Like Europa, Enceladus is an ice-covered world that could harbor an ocean below its surface.
– Triton, a moon of Neptune, is another solar system object that could have an underground ocean. Triton is a cold world with a surface covered in ice and snow.
– Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt, could also have an underground ocean. Although Ceres is a small object, it has been shown to have a brittle surface and internal structure that suggests the presence of a subterranean ocean.
– Pluto, our beloved Pluto, could also have an underground ocean. Although Pluto is a small and cold object, evidence suggests that it may have an ocean beneath its nitrogen-icy surface.
The question now is… will there be life in those oceans?