There’s now one less ocean world in the solar system

Mimas, the Death Star moon, just “lost” its ocean, according to new research.
By | Published: March 1, 2017 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute

There are plenty of oceans in the Saturn system — including Enceladus, Titan, and possibly Dione. That used to include Mimas, but new research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets suggests we need to pump the brakes on that idea.

Research published in 2014 suggested that one of Saturn’s tiny moons, Mimas, could have an ocean … or just a football shaped core. It all owed to weird discrepancies in Mima’s orbit around Saturn. It seemed to wobble in its interactions, something that usually indicates that an ocean is sloshing around in the interior.

Even at the time, there was a bit of skepticism. While Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa both have cracks in the surface and geyser activity, Mimas’ surface seemed relatively inert, with a giant crater giving it the appearance of a Star Wars Death Star. It would also need a heat source to drive this interior sea world, which would be 15-20 miles (24-32km) below the surface.

The research debunking the ocean was led by Alyssa Rose Rhoden of Arizona State University. She and her-coauthors put forth what an ocean on Mimas would need to look like to explain its wobble by comparing it to Europa and Enceladus’ surface cracks and crevices. They found that any ocean would have created massive cracks across the surface, rivaling those of Europa instead of the serene surface seen today.

Guess it’s back to football shaped core as the leading model.

Source: Science News