Saturn has a good number of exciting moons circling it. Titan by far its most famous, boasting a mysterious sea of methane, and Enceladus is characterized by its baffling geysers of water vapor and ice particles. However, we may now be adding Mimas to that list of intriguing moons. A new study has revealed that the dull-looking moon is literally shaking with a mystery of its own.
Mimas hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the past, even as NASA’s Cassini has been whizzing around Saturn for more than 10 years.
"We thought it was the most boring satellite," Radwan Tajeddine, a planetary scientist at Cornell University, even recently admitted to Science Magazine.
However, a closer look at the moon recently revealed that Mimas has a rotational wobble far larger than expected.
"In physical terms, the back-and-forth wobble should produce about three kilometers of surface displacement," he explained in a statement. “Instead we observed an unexpected six kilometers of surface displacement.”
Tajeddine argues in a study recently published in the journalScience that something incredibly interesting has to be going on beneath the tiny moon’s geologically boring surface; and the only way to find out what’s there is to closely watch the wobble.
"Nature is essentially allowing us to do the same thing that a child does when she shakes a wrapped gift in hopes of figuring out what’s hidden inside," Tajeddine said.
According to a resulting study using 3-D computer models and Cassini spacecraft data, the scientist and his colleagues determined that Mimas’ interior is not uniform. They concluded that these pronounced wobbles could only be produced if the moon contains a weirdly shaped, rocky core or if a sub-surface ocean exists beneath its “dull” shell.
Tajeddine told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that he personally favors the latter of the two theories, as the gravitational tug of Saturn on Mimas’ eccentric orbit could produce enough tidal heating to maintain a liquid interior.
That would also put Mimas in the exclusive club of sea-bearing moons that Saturn’s Enceladus and Titan, and Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are already in. And that’s pretty cool.
this show never fails me
“Right now I’m moving from pantries to soup kitchens to shelters.”
“What was your upbringing like?”
“I’d say dysfunctional but fair.”
“How was it dysfunctional and how was it fair?”
“It was dysfunctional because there was alcohol everywhere. There was a lot of cussing and calling me names like ‘piece of shit.’ But it was fair because I always had a place to stay and clothes on my back. And I did the Boy Scouts or the Boy’s Club, or whatever that was called. But in the end, the alcohol won out.”
The people of the future know Clint Eastwood
People of the Future (1929), Konstantin Yuon / Clint Eastwood, Gorillaz
This is by far the broadest and most enabling definition of bisexuality that I’ve found to date. Its strength is in the way it enables anyone who wants to identify as bisexual to do so. (In other words, it reassures people.)
In a world in which bisexuality is usually very narrowly defined, many people who experience bisexual desire, and want to identify as bi, often feel afraid to start (or keep) identifying as such, as they feel as though they “don’t qualify.” The role that an enabling definition for bisexuality can fulfill to counter these feelings of internalized biphobia is invaluable—and I feel that Ochs’s definition does just that. It reassures people that they are “allowed” to identify as bisexual if they wish to do so.
Happy National Dessert Day