Vast underground ocean found beneath ice on Saturn's Moon Enceladus
By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 04, Apr 2014, 17:00 pm IST | UPDATED: 04, Apr 2014, 17:00 pm IST
Researchers have uncovered evidence of an "ocean" of water under Enceladus, one of Saturn's smaller moons.
Data collected from the Cassini spacecraft shows that Enceladus is a shiny world about 300 miles in diameter, and has a subsurface “regional sea” with a rocky bottom.
The researchers analysed the so-called Doppler Effect data from three of Cassini's flybys between 2010 and 2012, which brought the spacecraft within 100 km of Enceladus' surface.
They found that the southern polar region of the moon doesn't have enough mass at its surface to account for the hemisphere's gravity field, suggesting that something dense below the surface of Enceladus, probably liquid water, must be compensating.
The study published in the journal Science holds significance because it gives an idea that this tiny world is one of the few places in our own solar system that could be potentially friendly to life.
The findings made Enceladus eligible to join the ranks of Titan and Europa as a moon that may have liquid water splashing around inside of it.