Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fly me to the moon

From Scientific American

On the Saturnian moon Enceladus, jets of powdery snow and water vapor, laden with organic compounds, vent from the “tiger stripes,” warm gashes in the surface. How can a body just over 500 kilometers across sustain such vigorous activity?

The answer may be the presence of underground fluids, perhaps a sea, which would increase the efficiency of heating by tidal effects. Support for this idea has come from recent flybys.

If Enceladus has liquid water, it joins Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa as one of the prime places in the solar system to look for extraterrestrial life.
There's much more in the full length article about Endeladus at the link.

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