Enceladus is Spraying Its Salty Sea Out Into Space

Color-composite of Enceladus spraying into the E ring (NASA/JPL/SSI/Gordan Ugarkovic)
Color-composite of Enceladus spraying into the E ring in 2009 (NASA/JPL/SSI/Gordan Ugarkovic)

Thanks to Cassini we’ve known about the jets of icy brine spraying from the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus for about 8 years now, but this week it was revealed at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference outside Houston, Texas that Enceladus’ jets very likely reach all the way down to the sea — a salty subsurface sea of liquid water that’s thought to lie beneath nearly 10 kilometers of ice.

“To touch the jets of Enceladus is to touch the most accessible salty, organic-rich, extraterrestrial body of water and, hence, habitable zone, in our solar system.”

– Cassini imaging team leader Carolyn Porco

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6 Comments

  1. L. Rowan McKnight says:

    That is SO cool.

    Like

  2. gcobb1990 says:

    Please be bacteria in it, please be bacteria in it! Or even better, be something we completely didn’t expect!

    Like

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