Sunday, January 29

The Death Star has an internal ocean | Digital Trends Spanish


In Greek mythology, Mimas is a giant son of Gaia, Mother Earth, but in space he is an inner moon of the planet Saturn, which was discovered in 1789 by William Herschel and is colloquially called the Death Star for its similarity to the imperial base of StarWars.

A recent investigation by scientists from the Southwest Research Institute, after visualizations made by NASA’s Cassini probe, would indicate that this natural satellite has an internal ocean.

This is in contrast to claims that Mimas is an inert frozen satellite, and would bring it closer to the moons Europa, Titan and Enceladus, which have water beneath the rocky ice on their surface.

Dr. Alyssa Rhoden, a specialist in geophysics of icy satellites, was one of those who participated in this investigation of the Death Star.

“If Mimas has an ocean, it represents a new class of small, ‘stealth’ ocean worlds with surfaces that don’t betray the existence of the ocean,” she said.

This opens the possibility of finding other habitable systems, that after the investigation of the phenomenon of internal tides, and also the study of the heat flow on the surface of Mimas, something that could be studied in the flyby that the Juno spacecraft intends to do in Europa, Jupiter’s moon.

“Although our results support a current ocean within Mimas, it is challenging to recognize the orbital and geological features of the moon with our current understanding of its thermal-orbital evolution. Assessing Mimas’ status as an oceanic moon would be a benchmark for models of its formation and evolution. This would help us better understand Saturn’s rings and medium-sized moons, as well as the prevalence of potentially habitable oceanic moons, particularly on Uranus. Mimas is a compelling target for further research,” concluded Rhoden, co-leader of NASA’s Research Coordination Network for Ocean Worlds.

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