NASA Has Its Closest Look at Geysers on Saturn Moon
Exquisite close-ups of fissures on a tiny frozen moon of Saturn will provide the latest clues in solving the riddle of how a 310-mile-wide ice ball could possibly be shooting geysers of vapor and icy particles.
Since the discovery of the jets in 2005, the moon, Enceladus, has jumped to near the top of the list of potential places for life in the solar system. A warm spot near Enceladus’s south pole powers the jets and may also melt below-surface ice into water, a necessity for living organisms.
On Monday, the NASA spacecraft Cassini made its latest flyby of Enceladus (pronounced en-SELL-ah-dus), passing 30 miles above the moon’s surface at 64,000 miles per hour.
Despite the high speed, Cassini was able to take razor-sharp images that, at seven meters per pixel, offer a resolution 10 times greater than earlier views. Scientists can now clearly see the V-shaped walls of the fractures, which are nearly 1,000 feet deep. Team members likened the accomplishment to taking a photo of a roadside billboard using a telephoto lens held out the window of a speeding car.
The observations should help scientists understand how geological processes can persist on such a small body, which is being heated by tidal distortions induced by Saturn.
I’m just picturing God sitting around deciding to mess with astronomers’ heads by putting geysers on one of Saturn’s moons. If you had asked them if it were possible before Cassini went off they would have laughed in your face. Now they’re acting like they know everything about it, “heat from tidal stresses”. BS! that’s nothing but a wild guess.