STATES CHRONICLE – Deep under the crust of Dione, Saturn’s third moon, lies a vast ocean. A study conducted by scientists who were part of Cassini mission revealed this new data. Enceladus and Titan, the other two natural satellites of Saturn are already well-known for their subsurface oceans kept under the frosty crust. This latest study proves that Dione hides an ocean under its icy surface, too. The research got published in Geophysical Research Letters this week.
Dione occupies position number four in the top Saturn’s biggest satellites. Saturn has 62 other moons orbiting around it. The recent Cassini flybys brought information about the gravity of Dione. Scientists were curious to see if this moon’s crust is floating on an ocean which is situated deep underneath the surface. Specialists have revealed that Dione is very similar with Enceladus, another satellite. We remember from previous data that Enceladus has a region covered with geysers that spurt jets into the atmosphere.
Dione appears to be an undisturbed celestial object, but some deterioration from its surface is the proof of a turbulent past. Significant information brought to light by the astronomers regarded the subsurface oceans of both Dione and Enceladus. Enceladus’ underneath ocean indicates that it’s closer to its crust then Dione’s waters. The distinction between the two is made by the erupting geysers situated in the south of Enceladus.
Experts have thought of the possibility that Dione keeps this ocean at approximately 62 miles under its surface, being the propitious place to develop microbial life. Mikael Beuthe, the lead author of this research, has assumed that the crust can only bear a certain amount of compression necessary to sustain the geology of the surface.
Attilio Rivoldini, the co-author of this study who is also a member of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, asserted that the ocean and the crust are in an interdependent correlation. The interaction of the water with the crust make possible the change of nutrients that sustain microscopic life.
More and more planets and satellites are discovered to bear oceans underneath their crust. With every space journey, astronomers find out even greater discoveries. Jupiter and Saturn were both proved to have three ocean planets each that orbit around them.
Do you believe that there are more planets from our solar system which hide subsurface oceans?
Image source: solar views