According to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission, a global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Satrun’s geologically active moon, Enceladus.
Back in 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft first revealed that Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, had active geologic activity. It discovered an icy spray issuing out of the moon’s southern polar region as well as temperatures in that region that were higher than expected. Currently, it is being suggested, that there also may be a 6-mile deep, 25 mile thick, ocean beneath the moon’s icy shell.
According to NASA, one of Saturn’s moons named Enceladus may harbor a hidden ocean containing alien life.
There’s been a lot of talk recently of the “polar vortex” that’s sweeping the nation and causing record low temperatures. Well, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t the movies and we’re not in “The Day After Tomorrow.” Before writing this I started looking up what someone would need in case of a post-apocalyptic winter scenario. It was actually pretty dull: sleeping bags, hand warmers, extra clothing. Thanks! But then I started to think about how other planets in our very own Solar System are actually constantly in this state of extreme winter. Sure, it’d be fun to visit for a couple of minutes just to say that you’ve been there but you probably wouldn’t want to set up shop for any extended period of time. That being said, what if you could open some ski resort on one of these planets? What would be the best place in the Solar System for the perfect ski resort?
NASA just released a panoramic image of Saturn and some of its closest moons, but it also includes the tiny, blue dot we call home – planet Earth, some 900 million miles away. Taken by the Cassini probe now orbiting Saturn, the image also captures our companion worlds Venus and Mars. The panorama was pieced together from natural-color photographs taken in July.
Each pixel in the photograph represents about 45 miles. Seven out of Saturn’s 53 known moons are visible in their planet’s seven rings. There’s Prometheus, Pandora, Janus and Epimetheus near Saturn’s slim F ring. There’s Enceladus in the bright blue E ring. There’s Tethys, a yellow bulb, and Mimas, just a crescent, wedged between rings.
Venus is located to Saturn’s upper left, which is seen as a bright, white spot. Mars, a pale red dot, is above and to the left of Venus. There are 809 stars captured by Cassini’s lens in this image. And we Earthlings are on the blue dot at Saturn’s lower right.
This cosmic portrait had been planned for months and on July 19, NASA announced that all the conditions were right for such a picture, including that on this date, Saturn completely eclipsed the sun, allowing Cassini’s sensors to image this portrait. The cosmic photo is a composite of 141 images taken over four hours, selected out of 343 images total. The photograph was then digitally enhanced to pull from the blackness Venus, Mars, Earth, Saturn’s moons, and all the stars in the frame. Most of the objects in the photograph, including Earth, were brightened by 8 times relative to Saturn; some of the stars were brightened by as much as 16 times.
This was also the first time that humans were told in advance that Earth was being put before a camera. So, in what was called NASA’s “Wave at Saturn” campaign, the Cassini’s Imaging team asked us all to turn out for the July 19 picture day to wave and smile for the camera in the cosmos.
“On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth.”(NASA)
Remember when we wrote about the Casini Spacecraft photographing the Earth from the other side of Saturn? Well, now all the data and pixels have been put together with a lot of hard work from the project scientists and the amazing result is here:
Go look at the amazing image from across the solar system. You will be amazed…. Zoom in and look at the planets and other objects in the background.
Cassini, which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, discovered jets of water ice and organic particles shooting out from Saturn’s moon Enceladus in 2005. Scientists thought the amount of the spray changed over time but they couldn’t show until now that the spray changed in a pattern that could be easily recognized. After using infrared data from Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) and other data gathered over time they were able to see the changes and recognize a pattern. When Enceladus is closer to Saturn the stronger gravitational pull of the planet makes the openings smaller and therefore less is sprayed out. (Look at the south pole of Enceladus in the picture below-right insert.)When Enceladus is further away from the planet less gravity allows larger openings so the spray escapes in larger quantities.