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Cassini confirms global ocean at Enceladus

  1. Sep 16, 2015 #1

    mfb

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    At least according to NASA's interpretation.

    Both measurements of the gravitational field and of the rotation rate of the surface agree on that. If the surface is not connected to the core, its libration is stronger, and apparently the observed magnitude is not compatible with a solid connection between ice and core.

    NASA press release

    I don't find it there yet, the press release doesn't give much detail.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2015 #2
    This corroborates upon previous evidence that this Moon probably has a liquid layer of it's interior and almost certainly it's water.
    I don't think this makes it potentially viable as a habitat though, either for indigenous life or for possible future human habitation.
    We can't investigate or make use of liquid water existing several kilometers beneath a solid ice surface, so while the discovery is interesting it's probably not of much consequence.
     
  4. Sep 16, 2015 #3

    marcus

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    Nice result! Here are names of a couple of co-authors:
    Matthew S. Tiscareno, Peter C. Thomas
    We can search for the paper on arXiv later.
    I did not see it when I looked just now.
     
  5. Sep 16, 2015 #4

    marcus

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    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  6. Sep 17, 2015 #5

    mfb

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    There are ideas of a lander that would melt itself through the ice to investigate the ocean below. That concept is the usual way drilling happens in Antarctica today, Lake Vostok has been reached that way for example.
    Complete sterilization of the probe would be a serious issue. We certainly don't want to introduce life from Earth, especially if there happens to be life (which is more likely for the larger moons I think, but we don't know).
     
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