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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Enceladus heating

Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. about 500 km in diameter. It has been known since 2005 that it has higher surface temperatures than can currently be explained.

Data from Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer of Enceladus' south polar terrain, which is marked by linear fissures, indicate that the internal heat-generated power is about 15.8 gigawatts, approximately 2.6 times the power output of all the hot springs in the Yellowstone region, or comparable to 20 coal-fueled power stations. This is more than an order of magnitude higher than scientists had predicted, according to Carly Howett, the lead author of study, who is a postdoctoral researcher at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., and a composite infrared spectrometer science team member.
“The mechanism capable of producing the much higher observed internal power remains a mystery and challenges the currently proposed models of long-term heat production,”
Source: NASA

Proposed mechanisms include include tidal, radioactive and chemical theories. See Wikipedia


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