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Writer Fuel: Does the “Death Star Moon” Have an Underground Ocean?

Mimas - NASA

Astronomers have discovered that a tiny moon of Saturn, named Mimas, may harbor a hidden liquid ocean beneath its thick icy shell and may thus have the conditions for habitability.

This shocking finding radically changes the definition of what an ocean moon can be, and could ultimately redefine our search for alien life on moons in the solar system. That’s because, at first appearance, Mimas — nicknamed the ‘Death Star’ because a large crater means it resembles the Empire’s space station in Star Wars — doesn’t look like the kind of body scientists would expect to support an ocean. In fact, it doesn’t even look capable of supporting such a vast body of liquid at all.

The team behind the watery discovery estimates the ocean is located around 12 to 18 miles (20 to 30 kilometers) beneath the ice crust surface of Mimas; the researchers also believe it is relatively young, having only appeared between 2 million and 25 million years ago. Yet, despite remaining hidden for millions of years, the ocean appears to comprise at least half of the moon’s volume.

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Full Story From Live Science

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