Dione, Saturn's third moon, is hiding an ocean underneath its icy surface. But scientists discovered it 62 miles below the surface surrounding the moon's core.
Researchers from the Royal Observatory Belgium initiated the study and the findings were printed in Geophysical Research Letters.
The study revealed that the ocean remains on Dione even after the evidence of the moon's ocean was shown three years ago. The first images were collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in March 2013.
Researchers used computer modeling techniques in the recent study to know if the gravitational data that was detected by Cassini's journey can justify if Dione's crust is floating on an ocean.
They discovered that the ocean is about 10 kilometers deep, surrounding the moon's rocky core, according to Science World Report.
According to Attilio Rivoldini, co-author of the study, the contact between the rocky core and the ocean is crucial. The interaction between the two elements provide energy and key nutrients that are important ingredients of life.
It is said that Dione is like a small version of Enceladus. Both satellites have icy surface that are made up of global icebergs submerged in water, supported by deep keels.
The past studies, where the researchers used the same models, suggested that Saturn's third moon lacked an ocean while Enceladus has an extremely thick crust, Red Orbit reported.
Mikael Beuthe, lead author, stated that the researchers "assumed that the icy crust can stand only the minimum amount of tension or compression necessary to maintain surface landforms" as additional stress "would break the crust down to pieces."
The study stated that, compared to Enceladus, Dione has a deeper ocean located in the middle of its crust and core.
Co-author Antony Trinh explained that their conclusion is just a prediction and still need to be confirmed by sending an orbiter that is more advance than Cassini.