Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cold Is The New Hot

In other news, Cassini scientists believe that Titan may have active cryovolcanoes spewing a mix of water ammonia and methane. (I took a punt on depicting one of these in The Quiet War, so I'm biased towards hoping it's true.) So in addition to two moons with subsurface oceans (Europa and Enceladus), and two moons with icy geysers (Enceladus and Triton), there may be at least two moons with active volcanoes. What next?

2 Comments:

Blogger PeteY said...

I believe Ganymede has also had a subsurface ocean diagnosed - as I racall, magnetometer readings on a flyby (by Galileo, of course) indicated an electrically conductive shell under the ice, presumably a saltwater mantle or ocean. A bit deeper than the others, perhaps.

December 17, 2008 1:51 AM  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

You're quite right - there's evidence based on magnetic measurements that both Ganymede and Callisto may have salt-water oceans deep under their surfaces. And these oceans may be found under the surfaces other moons too (Triton is a prime candidate). But (feebly) in my defence, the evidence isn't yet as definite as in the cases of Europa and Enceladus.

December 17, 2008 12:38 PM  

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