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Author Topic: Water found on saturn moon  (Read 3300 times)
daschrier
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« on: March 09, 2006, 11:32:43 AM »

http://www.drudgereport.com/flash8na.htm

NASA's Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus. The rare occurrence of liquid water so near the surface raises many new questions about the mysterious moon.

"We realize that this is a radical conclusion - that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. "However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms."

High-resolution Cassini images show icy jets and towering plumes ejecting huge quantities of particles at high speed. Scientists examined several models to explain the process. They ruled out the idea the particles are produced or blown off the moon's surface by vapor created when warm water ice converts to a gas. Instead, scientists have found evidence for a much more exciting possibility. The jets might be erupting from near-surface pockets of liquid water above 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), like cold versions of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone.

"We previously knew of at most three places where active volcanism exists: Jupiter's moon Io, Earth, and possibly Neptune's moon Triton. Cassini changed all that, making Enceladus the latest member of this very exclusive club, and one of the most exciting places in the solar system," said John Spencer, Cassini scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder.

-more--2-

"Other moons in the solar system have liquid-water oceans covered by kilometers of icy crust," said Andrew Ingersoll, imaging team member and atmospheric scientist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "What's different here is that pockets of liquid water may be no more than tens of meters below the surface."

"As Cassini approached Saturn, we discovered the Saturnian system is filled with oxygen atoms. At the time we had no idea where the oxygen was coming from," said Candy Hansen, Cassini scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. "Now we know Enceladus is spewing out water molecules, which break down into oxygen and hydrogen."

Scientists still have many questions. Why is Enceladus so active? Are other sites on Enceladus active? Might this activity have been continuous enough over the moon's history for life to have had a chance to take hold in the moon's interior?

In the spring of 2008, scientists will get another chance to look at Enceladus when Cassini flies within 350 kilometers (approximately 220 miles), but much work remains after the spacecraft's four-year prime mission is over.

"There's no question, along with the moon Titan, Enceladus should be a very high priority for us. Saturn has given us two exciting worlds to explore," said Jonathan Lunine, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

Mission scientists report these and other Enceladus findings in this week's issue of Science.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology


Interesting :D
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Dade
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2006, 03:34:11 PM »

This is so fucking awesome.

I just want to know what the atmosphere of that moon is made up of. Cause if it has water in the ground, then hopefully this may be a moon capable of supporting human life.
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2006, 03:57:42 PM »

Just saw this on TV.  I think that's really fuckin cool.
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Jimmy
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2006, 04:37:01 PM »

Just read the story on MSN.com. This is really awesome. The possibility that it has liquid water just around 10 meters beneath the surface of the ice is amazing to me. I really hope they get a mission plan going to explore this moon (or Jupiter's Europa) in the next 15 to 20 years or so because it is just such an amazing possibility.

EDIT: Cool image of how big Enceladus is compared to Earth and our moon on this page. Just scroll down a bit.
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2006, 04:48:06 PM »

Watch. After seeding the Earth with human life, aliens have left a trail of cosmic water leading back to their homeland.

But not on purpose.

Someone kept dropping their fucking water bottle.
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Sazabirules
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2006, 06:19:26 PM »

This is an interesting find and hopefully we'll learn more eventually.
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2006, 07:15:46 PM »

Ditto what everyone else said, this is fucking cool.
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MonCapitan2002
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2006, 11:42:29 PM »

Damn that moon is tiny.  One of the theories astronomers are posing is that it may have an off-center molten core.
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Myau
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2006, 12:57:57 PM »

Interesting, but only so far. Since Saturn itself is way too far away from the sun to allow anything in its general area to support life, methinks.

And I don't think flying all the way to Saturn to impliment any kind of life is such a good idea, either. :P
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Sazabirules
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2006, 04:45:05 PM »

Quote from: "Myau"
Interesting, but only so far. Since Saturn itself is way too far away from the sun to allow anything in its general area to support life, methinks.

And I don't think flying all the way to Saturn to impliment any kind of life is such a good idea, either. :P


We might have to sent monkeys first and see if they make it to Saturn.
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