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The Death Star moon has a weird interior

22 Oct 2014, 12:43 UTC
The Death Star moon has a weird interior
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Saturn’s small moon Mimas is best known for the giant crater Herschel, which makes it look like the Death Star. However, a new study based on Cassini data shows that its interior is weird too. While Mimas presents the same face to Saturn due to tidal-locking (just like the Moon does with Earth), it rocks […]

Saturn’s Death Star moon, Mimas, as seen by the Cassini orbiter. [Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA; Digital Processing: Supportstorm]Saturn’s small moon Mimas is best known for the giant crater Herschel, which makes it look like the Death Star. However, a new study based on Cassini data shows that its interior is weird too. While Mimas presents the same face to Saturn due to tidal-locking (just like the Moon does with Earth), it rocks back and forth, a motion known as libration. The new observations indicate that Mimas is librating twice as much as it should if it were a solid body with a regular interior. That led the researchers to conclude it has either an irregularly shaped core, or a subsurface ocean like its fellow moons Enceladus and Titan, as I explained in my latest Daily Beast column:
Mimas is the ...

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