Water on icy moons can freeze at very low temperatures

Scientists experimentally measured at what temperatures salt water will freeze under high pressure. The obtained results indicate that ice oceans of the moons of giant planets can exist even if the temperature on them is very low.

Water on icy moons can freeze at very low temperatures.

When water freezes on icy moons

Scientists from the Universities of California and Wisconsin conducted a series of experiments on freezing aqueous solutions of salts under high pressure. They tried to simulate conditions on the icy moons of giant planets.

Salt water freezes at temperatures well below zero Celsius. Ordinary water under pressure of thousands of atmospheres can also last up to significant sub-zero temperatures. But what happens if salinity and pressure meet together?

A series of experiments have shown that in this case the effects will develop in a rather tricky way, but in any case, we are talking about maintaining the liquid state to a temperature of tens of degrees below zero. Such conditions are found on many icy moons of giant planets.

Oceans on Giant’s moons

Many moons of giant planets are a mixture of ice and stone. On some of them, scientists have long suspected the presence of oceans under the outer layer of ice. For example, in Europe, the thickness of the water layer can range from 100 to 400 kilometers.

However, all assumptions about the existence of subglacial oceans were based on the fact that the depths of the icy moons should warm up. And this may well not be. But new tests show that layers of salty and habitable water can exist even if there is no significant heating.

It also suggests that oceans may exist on smaller bodies than previously thought. An example is Mimas. They are subjected to less compression and less heat. But life can still exist on them. The number of bodies of the Solar System on which there is liquid water can be measured in tens.

According phys.org

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