Read at www.independent.co.uk
Scientists have discovered that Mimas, a moon of Saturn, may have a young ocean hiding beneath its icy surface. This makes Mimas a prime candidate for studying the origins of life. The ocean is estimated to be between 5 and 15 million years old, much younger than Earth's oceans. Mimas joins a group of other moons believed to have oceans beneath their surfaces, including Europa and Ganymede of Jupiter, and Titan and Enceladus of Saturn. The discovery was made using data from Nasa's Cassini spacecraft.
Mimas is a small moon, only about 400 kilometres in diameter, and its heavily cratered surface gave no hint of the hidden ocean beneath...
This discovery adds Mimas to an exclusive club of moons with internal oceans, including Enceladus and Europa, but with a unique difference: its ocean is remarkably young, estimated to be only five to 15 million years old. The existence of a recently formed liquid water ocean makes Mimas a prime candidate for study, for researchers investigating the origin of life. For the study, published in the journal Nature, a team led by Dr Valery Lainey of the Paris Observatory in France, analysed data from Nasa's Cassini spacecraft.
The existence of a recently formed liquid water ocean makes Mimas a prime candidate for study, for researchers investigating the origin of life.