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Subsurface sea hides below ice of Saturn moon

Gravity maps of Enceladus reveal liquid water ocean beneath satellite’s south pole

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2:00pm, April 3, 2014

FROZEN  Enceladus, a 500-kilometer-wide moon of Saturn, is blanketed in a thick sheet of ice. Salty water erupts through a network of fissures (blue) in the southern hemisphere. New measurements of the moon’s gravity reveal a subsurface ocean 30 to 40 kilometers beneath the south pole. 

Scuba divers take note: an underground ocean awaits on a moon of Saturn. Astronomers have, for the first time, measured the depth and extent of a subsurface sea on the ice-covered moon Enceladus. The findings shore up the notion that an underground reservoir feeds the moon’s ice geysers and raise questions about Enceladus’ habitability.

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