One of the sixty-two moons of Saturn, Enceladus, has been found to have an underground ocean of water that’s at least as large as Lake Superior, the largest of North America according to researchers. The research was led by Luciano Iess from the Sapienza University of Rome and was based on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been floating among Saturn’s moons for a decade now. Interest has grown around Enceladus since 2005, when researchers detected plumes of water vapor ejecting from long fractures in its surface known as tiger stripes.
The supposedly discovered ocean was found at the south pole of Enceladus, a tiny moon about as wide as Arizona, putting the moon among the ranks of Saturn’s Titan and Jupiter’s Europa, which are also believed to hold oceans of water beneath frozen ice.
According to what researchers told The Verge
These are among the most interesting objects from the point of view of astrobiology. This moon was believed to be geologically inactive — essentially a dead body, The fact that there are these geysers which eject more than a hundred kilometers over the surface was surprising.”
From the results are being published yesterday in the journal Science, Researchers found that the ocean of water is about 8 Km deep and covers at least from Enceladus’ south pole to around half way to its equator. It may actually go farther than that — potentially even reaching the equator — though they can’t say either way.
The lead scientist of the project, Less further added that After Europa, Enceladus is the second body in the solar system that we’ve discovered to have rock and water in contact.