Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus is of great curiosity to scientists resulting from its subsurface ocean, making it a primary goal for these trying to find life elsewhere. New research led by Carnegie’s Doug Hemingway reveals the physics governing the fissures by means of which oceanwater erupts from the moon’s icy floor, giving its south pole an unusual “tiger stripe” appearance.
Working with Max Rudolph of the University of California, Davis, and Michael Manga of UC Berkeley, Hemingway used models to analyze the physical forces performing on Enceladus that permit the tiger stripe fissures to kind and remain in place. Their findings are revealed by Nature Astronomy.
The group was notably curious about understanding why the stripes are present only on the moon’s south pole however have been additionally eager to determine why the cracks are so evenly spaced.
The reply to the primary question seems to be a little bit of a coin toss. The researchers revealed that the fissures that makeup Enceladus’ tiger stripes might have shaped on both poles; the south simply occurred to separate open first.
The researchers consider the fissure named after the city of Baghdad was the first to form. Nevertheless, it did not simply freeze again up once more. It stayed open, permitting ocean water to spew from its crevasse that, in flip, induced three extra parallel cracks to type.
For a larger moon, its personal gravity can be stronger and prevent the extra fractures from opening all the way. So, these stripes might only have shaped on Enceladus.