Tech & Science Saturn Moon Enceladus' Churning Insides May Keep Its Ocean Warm

19:09  09 november  2017
19:09  09 november  2017 Source:   MSN

Skygazers ready for ‘really beautiful’ Beaver Moon

  Skygazers ready for ‘really beautiful’ Beaver Moon The heavenly body will appear around 14% larger in diameter and 30% brighter than usual. The second “supermoon” of the year will be visible on Friday and Saturday night. © Provided by The Press Association The moon In the Northern Hemisphere, November’s full moon occurs at the time of year when hunters used to set traps before waters froze over to ensure a supply of warm furs for winter – hence the name Beaver Moon.“It should be a really beautiful sight.

over long ago may now be solved — heat from the scraping of rock churning within the fragmented core of Enceladus could keep its underground ocean warm for up to billions of [ Inside Enceladus , Icy Moon of Saturn (Infographic)]. Enceladus is only about 314 miles (505 kilometers) wide, making

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn 's icy moon Enceladus should not be one of the most promising places in our solar system to look for extraterrestrial life. This led scientists to consider the role of tidal heating as a way to keep Enceladus warm enough for liquid water to remain under its surface.

The plumes of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute The plumes of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. The mystery of why the ocean beneath the icy shell of Saturn's moon Enceladus did not freeze over long ago may now be solved — heat from the scraping of rock churning within the fragmented core of Enceladus could keep its underground ocean warm for up to billions of years, a new study finds.

This heat could help provide the kinds of conditions required for life to develop, according to the study.

In 2005, NASA's Cassini spacecraft discovered jets of water ice, organic molecules and other material blasting into space from giant fissures near Enceladus' south pole. Researchers suspect these jets come from an ocean "buried beneath a relatively thin ice shell 20 to 25 kilometers [12.4 to 15.5 miles] thick on average," said study lead author Gael Choblet, a planetary scientist at the University of Nantes in France.

Skygazers ready for ‘really beautiful’ Beaver Moon

  Skygazers ready for ‘really beautiful’ Beaver Moon The heavenly body will appear around 14% larger in diameter and 30% brighter than usual. The second “supermoon” of the year will be visible on Friday and Saturday night. © Provided by The Press Association The moon In the Northern Hemisphere, November’s full moon occurs at the time of year when hunters used to set traps before waters froze over to ensure a supply of warm furs for winter – hence the name Beaver Moon.“It should be a really beautiful sight.

The mystery of why the ocean beneath the icy shell of Saturn 's moon Enceladus did not freeze over long ago may now be solved — heat from the scraping of rock churning within the fragmented core of Enceladus could keep its underground ocean warm for up to billions of years, a new study finds. In.

Scientists Say the Warm Oceans of Enceladus May Harbour Lifeforms. The moon ’s wobble as it orbits Saturn matches a model that has an outer ice shell that is not frozen solid to its interior.

Enceladus is only about 314 miles (505 kilometers) wide, making it small enough to fit inside the borders of the state of Arizona. Given its tiny size and thin icy crust, one might have expected it to have cooled off rapidly after its formation and frozen solid by now. Previous research suggested that in order for Enceladus to still possess an internal ocean, a giant heat source was required, one generating more than 20 billion watts, which is about as much power put out by the Three Gorges Dam in China, the largest power station on Earth.

a close up of a light: This diagram of the interior of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus reveals how cool water seeping into the moon's core could be heated and transported upward through its underground ocean, inciting the moon's well-known jets. © Provided by Space.com This diagram of the interior of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus reveals how cool water seeping into the moon's core could be heated and transported upward through its underground ocean, inciting the moon's well-known jets. One possible source of this power is tidal heating. Whereas tides on Earth are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun, tidal forces on Enceladus are mostly caused by Saturn, and are strong enough to significantly flex and heat its ice and rock.

What Is the Beaver Moon? When, Where and How to Watch the ‘Supermoon’

  What Is the Beaver Moon? When, Where and How to Watch the ‘Supermoon’ The Beaver Moon occurs once a year in November at the point the moon is at its fullest. The full moon, which occurs once every monthly lunar cycle, is when the moon is the brightest in the night’s sky. This happens when the earth is located directly between the sun and the moon in its rotational orbit.The Beaver Moon is so named because it is the night the moon lights up the sky at the last point before lakes and swamps freeze over before winter, a spokeswoman for Britain’s Metropolitan Weather Office tells Newsweek.

These particles point toward warm waters on Enceladus . Unlike thermal activity on Earth, which is powered by our hot, churning core, Enceladus 's heat is created by gravitational friction from the pull of Saturn and its other moons .

So, scientists have considered the role of tidal heating – the gravitational pull from Saturn as Enceladus orbits the planet – as a way to keep Enceladus warm enough for liquid water to remain under its surface.

Now, researchers suggest this ocean keeps warm because of Saturn's tidal effects on the core of Enceladus. The scientists detailed their findings online today (Nov. 6) in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Previous research suggested Enceladus's core is made of fragmented rock. Choblet and his colleagues estimated that spaces packed with rock grains and water make up about 20 to 30 percent of the core.

"What we have in mind is not a sponge, where all the solid fragments are interconnected, but a pile of sand and gravel," Choblet told Space.com.

The scientists designed a computer model based on Cassini data that simulated the heat generated by tidal forces acting on Enceladus' porous core. They found the resulting friction between rock grains could generate more than 10 billion to 30 billion watts of heat.

The researchers added that heated water from the core could well outward and upward, generating hotspots on the floor of the buried ocean, particularly at the south pole of Enceladus. The new model can therefore explain the ocean of Enceladus as well as the activity seen at its south pole.

Choblet and his colleagues found this effect could heat Enceladus from tens of millions of years to billions of years. This may be long enough to supply the kinds of conditions needed for life to develop, they said.


Secrets of 1,000-Year-Old Shadow Zone Revealed .
Scientists have finally figured out why a patch of water in the Pacific Ocean has remained stagnant for the past 1,000 years.Water moves a lot, and pretty fast actually, with some currents moving around 5.6 miles per hour, but the "shadow zone" in the North Pacific Ocean is different. This area of stagnant water about 1.2 miles below the surface is impervious to natural ocean currents, and contains the most ancient untouched water on Earth. Carbon dating reveals the water pocket was formed somewhere around the fall of the Roman empire, and has not seen the ocean’s surface in over 1,000 years.

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