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Enceladus’ Jets: the Farther They Are, the Harder They Spray

Enceladus surrounds Saturn with its icy spray

Plumes of icy vapor erupt from cracks in Enceladus’ south pole. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

A crowning achievement of the Cassini mission to Saturn is the discovery of water vapor jets spraying out from Enceladus‘ southern pole. First witnessed by the spacecraft in 2005, these icy geysers propelled the little 320-mile-wide moon into the scientific spotlight. After 22 flybys of Enceladus during its nearly twelve years in orbit around Saturn, Cassini has gathered enough data to determine that there is a global subsurface ocean of salty liquid water beneath Enceladus’ frozen crust—an ocean that gets literally sprayed into space.  Now, new findings from Cassini and researchers at the Planetary Science Institute—with a little help from a star called Epsilon Orionis—has shown that at least some of the vapor jets get a boost in activity when Enceladus is farther from Saturn.

Read the full story on Universe Today.

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on May 7, 2016, in Saturn, Saturn's Moons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. DRRONRUB@aol.com

    Amazing.

    Like

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