Saturn’s ‘Death Star’ moon may have a hidden ocean, scientists discover

A scientist has discovered that Saturn’s small moon Mimas (left) likely has something in common...
A scientist has discovered that Saturn’s small moon Mimas (left) likely has something in common with its larger neighbor Enceladus: an internal ocean beneath a thick icy surface. Thought to be a frozen inert satellite, Mimas is now considered a “stealth” ocean world with a surface that does not betray what lies beneath. This discovery could greatly expand the number of potentially habitable worlds thought to exist.(NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 8:10 PM EST
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(Gray News) - Scientists now believe there may be a hidden ocean inside Saturn’s innermost moon that is best known for resembling the Death Star from the “Star Wars” franchise.

In a study published Jan. 19, NASA researchers revealed they have taken a closer look at the moon called Mimas and discovered an “oscillation” – movement back and forth at a regular speed – in its rotation that typically indicates water inside.

Until now, Mimas was thought to be made of solid ice.

If Mimas has water, it will become the third of Saturn’s 82 moons known to contain underground oceans.

Scientists say Mimas’ ocean might support life, even if it is encased in ice.

“Because the surface of Mimas is heavily cratered, we thought it was just a frozen block of ice,” Dr. Alyssa Rhoden, a specialist in the geophysics of icy satellites, said in a statement. “Turns out, Mimas’ surface was tricking us, and our new understanding has greatly expanded the definition of a potentially habitable world in our solar system and beyond.”

Mimas is known for looking like the Death Star because of the large 80-mile-wide crater on its surface.

Copyright 2022 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. CNN Newsource contributed to this report.