Tethys and Dione Are Hot Too!
When this blog was starting last June, it predicted that Saturn's moons contained unseen sources of energy. Back in 2005 we saw Enceladus emitting a plume of ions from a source at its South pole. It was already known that Titan creates methane requiring an internal energy source. The June 14 issue of Nature reports that Tethys and Dione (pictured) also emit charged particles! Old theories can not explain why all these moons give off heat.
Saturn's moons and Rings contain conditions similiar to our Solar System's formation. Formation of planets was triggered when primordial singularities collided with orbiting gas. Tiny Black Holes were the seeds of planets and some moons. The singularities are still there, giving off radiation that warms the cores of these tiny moons. They also are resposible for the many clumps and gaps in the Rings.
Without replenishment, Saturn's Rings would decay within 100 million years. Then we would face the anthropic question of why they exist at just the right time for humans to view them. Thanks to the Cassini spacecraft, we have witnessed the E Ring being resupplied from Enceladus. This observation suggests that other, unseen satellites maintain the Rings. You heard it here first!
More on ions: New work suggests that Mars once had oceans. Back in 2000 analysis of a 1.2 billion year old Martian meteorite showed water-soluble ions like those from an ancient ocean. The Nahkla meteorite, which landed in Egypt during 1911, contained ions of sodium and chloride, just like the salt in seawater.
In the June 15 issue of SCIENCE, planet discoverer Michael Brown and grad student Emily Schaller report that dwarf planet 2003 UB313, now known as Eris, has a mass 27% greater than Pluto. The solar system is an exciting place. Dr. Pamela Gay is hosting this week's Carnival of Space.