A HOT DAY ON ENCELADUS
On Saturn’s moon Enceladus, the environment is almost as hostile, because while Saturn traps solar wind ions and electrons at a somewhat lower density, its moons sweep up disproportionate amounts of radiation damage because its magnetosphere can trap energetic solar wind particles for years, and focus cosmic rays, amplifying the particle flux. If cells perish in hours out in the ionizing heat of the Big Cold, what happens to inorganic dust exposed over geological time? to find out, Read on, or take a look at Seitz et al: 'Xenomict energy in cold solids in space' Naturwissenschaften, March 2006
So energetic are the particles trapped and accelerated by the field lines of the Jovian and Saturnian magnetospheres that both solar wind protons and alpha particles, and cosmic ray nuclei generate an appreciable flux of x-rays and neurons as they collide with atoms and nuclei.. Europa receives a total surface dose reckoned in hundreds of megarads a year- roughly a hundred watts per kilogram of radiation energy is being deposited constantly in the ice and mineral dust grains exposed in the regolith’s surface .This is not enough thermal energy to greatly shift its radiative equilibrium because most of the energy deposited in the first few microns of ice and soil, and that wattage may be spread over an acre . But other things besides thermalization happen as ions and protons chew on the regolith materials inside the radiation belts. There are surface phenomena of course- wholesale sputtering of surface atom and molecules into space, contributing mass to the ring system in Saturn’s case or creating the thing fluorescent plasma atmospheres of Io and Titan.
So the factor of a million is a wash relative to the square of the velocity. That makes the ring system, which is only 100 meters thick, look very like a cheese slicing machine or a silicon wafering saw from the perspective of a planetoid spiraling in edge on.
It would be a grand to see Enceladus sawn open like a geode by the buzz saw of the Gods, - what geophysicist could resist taking a core drill to a core -mantle boundary freshly exposed? But if it does happen, it can’t last . This buzz saw's flat side would reduce an ill captured new moon to ring debris in under an eon . Cutting edge experimental geophysics will just have to make do the tools it finds to hand .