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  • Safi Bello

Enceladus heats up because its core is like a sponge

Ars Technica ---------- On Earth, the heat that drives geology is partly leftover from the planet's formation and partly the result of radioactive decay. For the smaller bodies of our Solar System, neither of these should be big factors. Yet many of them are geologically active, thanks to heat generated by gravitational interactions. Uneven gravitational forces throughout a moon's orbit leads to internal flexing, generating enough heat to power geysers and volcanoes. Or we think. In the case of Enceladus, Saturn's geyser-riddled moon, calculations suggest that the heat generated by orbital torques would only be enough to keep the moon's internal ocean liquid for about 30 million years. And, once its sub-surface ocean freezes, the moon's ability to flex goes down, which means less internal friction to warm it back up again. So why does Enceladus have an ocean at all, billions of years after it formed? To learn more click on the picture below to read the article.

Enceladus heats up because its core is like a sponge - Read More from Ars Technica

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