Leading researchers discovered water-rich plumes erupting on the south pole of the Saturn’s moon through the data gathered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in 2005. Scientists have been reviewing the data since then including the moon’s gravitational field and discovered more mass in the same area than what researchers have thought. One of the explanations was published in Scientific American saying that liquid water is denser than ice and more likely a buried ocean contributed to the hidden mass.
Scientists estimated the size of the hidden body of water to be as large as or larger than United States’ Lake Superior and this interior ocean can be found at approximately 31 miles below the moon’s surface, on top of the rocky core.
Planetary Science Institute senior scientist, Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, said that clues have been there and the actual gravity data is a proof of the pudding.
According to the Scientific American, Enceladus becomes more interesting in the field of extraterrestrial life research. Some scientists, including Jonathan Lunine of Cornell University, are interested to know if terrestrial organisms can also live in that environment. They also consider the moon as one of the top places to search for extraterrestrial life in the solar system.
More data is expected to gather by Cassini spacecraft as it is scheduled to do three more targeted flybys of the moon before it will plunge into the atmosphere of the planet.