Saturnian moon may have fizzy ocean capable of harbouring lifeJanuary 29th, 2011 - 5:23 pm ICT by ANI
Melbourne, Jan 29 (ANI): Saturnian moon Enceladus may have a fizzy ocean capable of harbouring life, suggests new data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
The findings could explain the vast icy plumes of water that spray into space through fissures-known as tiger stripes-on the moon’s frozen surface.
Lead Cassini planetary scientist Dennis Matson from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California, said “geophysicists expected Enceladus to be a lump of ice, cold, dead and uninteresting.”
Instead scientists have recently discovered the moon is covered with geysers shooting plumes of water vapour, icy particles and organic compounds, reports ABC Science.
Matson said many researchers viewed the icy jets as proof of a large subterranean body of water.
Cassini’s instruments detected have carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and various hydrocarbons in the plumes gas.
In 2009, the spacecraft’s cosmic dust analyser found sodium and potassium salts together with carbonates locked in the plumes’ icy particles, strengthening the underground ocean hypothesis.
The latest Cassini measurements have detected temperatures around the fissures as high as -83 degree Celsius, which Matson said are high enough to be volcanic in origin.
“Heat must be flowing from the interior, enough to melt some of the underground ice, creating an underground waterworks,” added Matson. (ANI)
- NASA's Cassini finds plethora of plumes and hotspots at Enceladus - Feb 24, 2010
- Oxygen atmosphere found on Saturn's moon - Nov 26, 2010
- NASA's Cassini spots possible ice volcano on Saturn's moon - Dec 15, 2010
- NASA's spacecraft discovers warm fractures on Saturn's moon - Dec 01, 2010
- NASA spacecraft makes deepest dive yet into Saturn moon's jets to find life - Nov 03, 2009
- 50 percent of plume shooting out of geysers on Enceladus could be ice - Dec 21, 2009
- Cassini finds new evidence for Enceladus hiding water beneath icy skin - Feb 09, 2010
- Saturn's moon Enceladus may host a salty ocean - Jun 25, 2009
- Water found on Jupiter moon - Nov 17, 2011
- Salt in ice plume on Enceladus points to presence of liquid ocean - Apr 30, 2009
- Source of geysers on Saturns moon Enceladus may be underground water - Nov 27, 2008
- 'Goldilocks' zone of life in space far bigger than originally thought - Dec 31, 2009
- Giant ocean found on Saturn's moon - Jun 30, 2012
- Saturns moon Enceladus may be more dynamic than previously believed - Dec 16, 2008
- Five places where life may exist in solar system - Mar 02, 2012
Tags: abc science, body of water, carbon hydrogen, carbonates, cassini spacecraft, cosmic dust, degree celsius, dennis matson, frozen surface, geysers, jet propulsion laboratory, organic compounds, pasadena california, planetary scientist, plumes, potassium salts, tiger stripes, underground ocean, water vapour, waterworks