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Old 10-05-2016, 10:51 PM   #1
the demon
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Default Saturn's moon 'Dione' believed to hold underground ocean

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A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn's moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts, but a new study suggests an ocean exists on Dione as well.

In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show gravity data from recent Cassini flybys can be explained if Dione's crust floats on an ocean located 100 kilometers below the surface. The ocean is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a large rocky core. Seen from within, Dione is very similar to its smaller but more famous neighbor Enceladus, whose south polar region spurts huge jets of water vapor into space. Dione seems to be quiet now, but its broken surface bears witness of a more tumultuous past. The study is published online this week in Geophysical Research Letters.

The authors modeled the icy shells of Enceladus and Dione as global icebergs immersed in water, where each surface ice peak is supported by a large underwater keel. Scientists have used this approach in the past but previous results have predicted a very thick crust for Enceladus and no ocean at all for Dione. "As an additional principle, we assumed that the icy crust can stand only the minimum amount of tension or compression necessary to maintain surface landforms," said Mikael Beuthe, lead author of the new study. "More stress would break the crust down to pieces."

According to the new study, Enceladus' ocean is much closer to the surface, especially near the south pole where geysers erupt through a few kilometers of crust. These findings agree well with the discovery last year by Cassini that Enceladus undergoes large back-and-forth oscillations, called libration, during its orbit. Enceladus' libration would be much smaller if its crust was thicker. As for Dione, the new study finds it harbors a deep ocean between its crust and core. "Like Enceladus, Dione librates but below the detection level of Cassini,'' said Antony Trinh, co-author of the new study. "A future orbiter hopping around Saturn's moons could test this prediction."

Dione's ocean has probably survived for the whole history of the moon, and thus offers a long-lived habitable zone for microbial life. "The contact between the ocean and the rocky core is crucial," said Attilio Rivoldini, co-author of the study. "Rock-water interactions provide key nutrients and a source of energy, both being essential ingredients for life." The ocean of Dione seems to be too deep for easy access, but Enceladus as well as Jupiter's moon Europa are generous enough to eject water samples in space, ready to be picked up by a passing spacecraft.

The club of "ocean worlds" -- icy moons or planets with subsurface oceans in common parlance -- gains new members with each new mission to the outer solar system. Three ocean worlds orbit Jupiter, three orbit Saturn and Pluto could also belong to the club, according to recent observations of the New Horizons spacecraft. The approach to modeling planetary bodies used in this study is a promising tool to study these worlds if we can measure their shape and gravity field, according to Mikael Beuthe. "Future missions will visit Jupiter's moons, but we should also explore Uranus' and Neptune's systems," he said.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1005131031.htm
Below is an interesting and very relevant link. Known lifeforms on Earth that exist in the most extreme environments, which could also exist in places within' our solar system in underground oceans on Dione and others. If these oceans actually exist, chances are fair enough that they hold some type of extremophile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremophile
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:05 AM   #2
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You do realize when we exploit it the dot will regulate it right?
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:48 AM   #3
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Life is a complex chemical reaction.
If the chemicals and environment are correct then life will form.
Survival of the fittest and deformities will drive evolution.
Continued adequate but slowly changing environments will speed or slow evolution.
There are more critters out there than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:04 AM   #4
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There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio...

This is fukn awesomeness.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:47 PM   #5
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If we ever find a minute amount of life anywhere besides Earth, we will somehow cause it's extinction by trying to study and save it.

I still say we should be attempting to spread life as our Primary Goal and secondarily looking for new life forms.

We are a full tea pot who continues to find empty cups, yet continues searching for full tea pots.

We are missing our purpose completely. Ours is not to find life in the Universe, our purpose is to fill it with life.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:52 AM   #6
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http://www.sci-techuniverse.com/2017...0PR2w.facebook

the-first-of-the-probes-final-five-orbits-took-it-between-the-rings-and-the-planet-itself-data-f.jpg
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bashman View Post
There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio...

This is fukn awesomeness.
You wanna see something awesome, check this out!

http://exoplanets.org/
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