Enceladus and its paper-thin crust
A team of independent researchers have now taken all of the data about Enceladus collected by the spacecraft and built a computer simulation of the moon that includes the thickness of the ice crust.
This picture of Enceladus has been created using data taken by Cassini’s high-resolution camera. The ice crust thickness, indicated by the colour, has then been plotted over the moon’s surface. According to the model, the thickness varies between about 35 km in the cratered equatorial regions (yellow) to less than 5 km in the active south polar terrain (blue).
In astronomical terms, this is paper-thin. The model predicts that the 505 km-wide moon contains a core that is 360–370 km in diameter. The rest is ocean and the ice crust, with the ice crust itself having an average thickness of 18–22 km.
Remarkably, however, the model predicts that the thickness of the ice reduces to less than 5 km at the south pole. This could make it easier for the water to escape along cracks and fissures.
Image credit: LPG-CNRS-U. Nantes/Charles U., Prague
Read more: http://buff.ly/29s95MU