Note in Science page
Created Jun 22 16, Updated Jun 22 16 09:16
An almost accessible ocean beneath Enceladus's icy surface go to comments

Seen via science daily article

Astronomers now think that the ice shell at Enceladus’s south pole may be only a few kilometers thick; suggesting that there is a strong heat source in the interior of Enceladus, representing good conditions for the possible emergence of life in its ocean!

Enceladus, color coded ice thickness (yellow: 35km … blue: 5km) ©

According to this study, Enceladus is made up successively of a rocky core with a radius of 185 km, and an internal ocean approximately 45 km deep, isolated from the surface by an ice shell with a mean thickness of around 20 km, except at the south pole where it is thought to be less than 5 km thick. In this model, the ocean beneath the ice makes up 40% of the total volume of the moon, while its salt content is estimated to be similar to that of Earth’s oceans.

Since complex organic molecules, whose precise composition remains unknown, have been detected in Enceladus’s jets, these conditions appear to be favorable to the emergence of life.

[small] thinness of the ice shell at the south pole could also allow a future space exploration mission to gather data, in particular using radar.

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