Saturn's moon Mimas may contain a 'life-friendly' ocean

Video: Mimas may contain an ocean or possibly a rugby-shaped core

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The Independent Online

A new study of the inside of Saturn's moon Mimas has suggested that either the icy satellite contains a frozen rugby-shaped core or a liquid water ocean.

Using numerous images taken by NASA's Cassini mission, scientists studied how much Mimas wobbles as it orbits Saturn and Radwan Tajeddine, a Cassini research associate at Cornell University in New York wrote, "The data suggest that something is not right, so to speak, inside Mimas.

"The amount of wobble we measured is double what was predicted."

Mimas was formed more than four billion years ago and is 400-miles wide in diameter.

If Mimas contains one of the possibilities, an ocean, it would join an exclusive club of "ocean worlds," with several moons of Jupiter as well as Saturn's Enceladus and Titan containing oceans.

Models designed by Tajeddine and co-authors from France and Belgium show that a possible Mimas ocean would lie 15 to 20 miles beneath the surface.

In an email to Reuters, Tajeddine said, "If Mimas does have an ocean, this would definitely be another interesting body in the solar system to be added to list of potential ‘life-friendly’ environments."