It has been suspected for a long time that under Enceladus’ icy crust laid a vast ocean. Finally, the news we were waiting for: the Cassini orbiter has detected signals of a hidden ocean beneath the 19 to 25 miles (30 – 40 km) of ice. The sea itself is at least 6 miles (10 km) deep and can be thought of as a larger Lake Superior.
Enceladus has also been known to have geysers, similar to those recently discovered on Europa, which contain salts as well as organic molecules such as methane and ethane. What’s interesting is that Enceladus experiences tidal flexing as it orbits Saturn. This flexing is thought to generate heat at the poles. Furthermore, scientists believe that there’s enough heat at the South Pole to melt the ice and push the seawater up to the various cracks in the surface. This is very exciting for astrobiologists because it means that the sea could be in contact with organic-rich silicate material from the moon’s internal rocky core, which is just at the right temperature for sustaining life. This discovery is truly setting the stage for the future and it makes a compelling case to study Enceladus in more detail.
Read more here: http://io9.com/weve-found-a-hidden-ocean-on-enceladus-that-may-harbor-1557622077
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