|Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech|
It was just last year that NASA discovered hints of an ocean underneath the surface of Enceladus, even though at the time the scientists believed the underground body of water was restricted to the moon’s South Pole. Now we know it’s far more extensive than that, and that the water vapour trails and indication of hydrothermal activity originating from the moon’s surface are nurtured by this massive global ocean.
But why is this vast ocean underneath Enceladus surface not frozen? After all, it’s stuck between an inert rocky core and a frozen outer surface. The scientists aren’t completely certain, but plan to examine if the tidal forces halting from Saturn’s gravity are truly producing way more heat than previously expected, which could be what’s keeping everything liquid down under the surface.
In any situation, Enceladus is in good concern. It’s one of several ocean worlds out there in our Solar System – and few of these watery environments could possibly sustain life.
The study waspublished in Icarus.