Rigidity of Ice Reduces Available Heat


New work by Matsuyama and colleagues suggests that the icy shell of outer satellites may dampen the magnitude of ocean tides and reduce the heat from tides. They found that the reduction in tidal heating was larger on Enceladus as compared to Europa because the ice shell there is more effectively rigid on Enceladus as compared to Europa. They present a new theoretical model for tidal heating for ice shells of arbitrary thickness. The more resistant an ice shell is to deformation, the more it will reduce tidal heating. This could have implications about the presence of potential life within these habitable worlds. READ MORE »