Tag Archives: Mimas

The mysterious interior of Saturn’s moon Mimas

Mimas

The uncertainty of science: Using data from Cassini scientists have found that Saturn’s weird moon Mimas might have either an underground ocean or a misshapen inner core.

Tajeddine and his team relied on pictures taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been exploring the Saturn system since 2004. They built a 3D model of the moon and found that it rotates with an extra wobble, like a misshapen top spinning slightly askew. Because Mimas is nearly spherical, the wobble hinted that something lumpy, or perhaps sloshy, lay beneath the surface. The scientists tested several models of the moon’s interior to see what might give rise to the observed wobble.

It could be the core is lumpy and not spherical. It could be that there is a liquid ocean under the crust that sloshes about as the moon moves through space. Or it could be that a massive impact, the one that produced Mimas’s Death Star look with its one gigantic single crater, could have caused the wobble.

At the moment the data is not sufficient to favor any of these theories. I guess we will just have to go there to find out.