Saturns moon Enceladus may have tipped over: study
New York, May 31 (PTI) Saturns icy, oceanic moon Enceladus may have been tilted in the distant past, probably due to a collision with a smaller body such as an asteroid, according to new data from the spacecraft Cassini of NASA.
The researchers found that the axis of rotation of the moons – the line through the north and south poles – has reoriented.
By examining the characteristics of the moons, the team showed that Elceladus seems to have been moved away from its original axis by about 55 degrees – more than half the way to the rolling completely on its side.
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“We have found a chain of weak areas or ponds that trace a belt across the surface of the moons which we believe are the fossil remains of a previous and previous equator and poles,” said Radwan Tajeddine, a team Cassini imagery associated with Cornell University in the United States.
The area surrounding the ice moons of the current South Pole is a geologically active area where long, linear fractures, called stem bands, intersect across the surface.
Researchers speculate that an asteroid may have struck the region in the past when it was closer to the equator.
“It is unlikely that the geological activity in this terrain was initiated by internal processes,” said Tajeddine.
“We believe that, in order to lead such a large reorientation of the moon, it is possible that an impact is behind the formation of this abnormal terrain,” he said.
In 2005, Cassini discovered that jets of water vapor and ice particles sprayed tiger strip fractures – evidence that an underground ocean drains directly into space beneath the active south polar terrain.
Whether it is an impact or another process, the researchers stated that the disturbance and creation of the tiger strip terrain resulted in a redistribution of the Enceladus mass, making the rotation of the moons unstable And stifling.
The rotation would have finally stabilized, probably after more than a million years.
By the time the rotation has taken place, the north-south axis would have reoriented to cross different points of the surface – a mechanism called “true polar wandering”.
The idea of polar wandering helps explain why the North and South poles of modern Enceladus seem quite different.
The south is active and geologically young, while the north is covered with craters and looks much older.
The original poles of the moons would have looked more like the event that prompted Enceladus to move and relocate the disturbed terrain of the tiger strip in the polar south region of the moons …….