Enceladus and the Search for Water

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#85141 by @ 11.03.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Enceladus and the Search for Water


Explanation:

Based on data from
Cassini spacecraft instruments, researchers are
now arguing that liquid water reservoirs exist
only tens of meters below the surface of Saturn's
small (500 kilometer diameter) but active moon
Enceladus.

The exciting new results
center around towering jets and plumes of material
erupting from the moon's surface.

The plumes originate in the long
tiger stripe fractures of
the south polar region
pictured
here
.

Detailed models suport conclusions that the
plumes
arise
from near-surface pockets of liquid water at
temperatures
of 273 kelvins (0 degrees Celsius), even though Enceladus has a
surface
temperature
of about 73 kelvins (-200 degrees Celsius).

Clearly an important step in the search for water and the potential
for the origin of
life beyond planet Earth,
such near-surface reservoirs of water would be far more accessible
than, for example, the internal ocean detected on the Jovian moon
Europa.




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