Does Saturn’s moon Mimas have an ocean under its icy surface?

Scientists say the wobble in Saturn’s smallest moon could point to an inner sea sloshing within.

Saturn’s moon Mimas – the munchkin among the ringed planet’s major moons – is finally getting some love. A new analysis of images taken by NASA’s Cassini orbiter, currently touring Saturn and its moons, has uncovered evidence that suggests the moon may have a global, under-ice sea, much like its larger cousin, Enceladus.

The team conducting the analysis notes that the measurements they made could point to a frozen-solid moon with a rocky core shaped like a rugby ball. But if the under-ice sea explanation holds up, Mimas could represent one more potential habitat for simple forms of organic life.

Either way, Mimas is turning out to be far more intriguing than many initially thought it would be, “This moon is more complex than we imagined,” says Radwan Tajeddine, an astronomer and research associate at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.


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