By Lenny Pierce
Bust out your 31 mile ice augers, all you space ice fishermen: Readings from the Cassini space craft indicate that there is a massive reservoir of of water hiding deep beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
Cassini’s readings have told us that this ocean is located on the southern hemisphere of the moon, and is at least as big as Lake Superior. Cassini’s observations also indicate that there is a thick 31 miles of ice before the water turns liquid. Scientists suspect the liquid ocean may not be limited to polar area, saying that it could go as far north as halfway to Enceladus’ equator.
As Cassini made three passes around Enceladus between 2010 and 2012, it beamed back readings on how much gravitational pull it was experiencing from the moon. What researchers found was that the gravitational readings from the two passes Cassini made at Enceladus’ south pole were significantly different form those made at the north pole. Specifically, gravity in this southern region was far stronger than expected, meaning that something dense was hiding underneath it. Researchers decided that this denser material must be water.
We have long known about Enceladus’ water vapor geysers. These are now …read more