Midnight In The Desert — Enceladus

Excitement Builds for the Possibility of Life on Enceladus

Posted by K R on

Excitement Builds for the Possibility of Life on Enceladus

Saturn’s frozen moon Enceladus is a tantalizing world—many scientists are increasingly convinced it may be the best place in our solar system to search for life. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, currently orbiting Saturn, has made intriguing observations of icy jets spewing from a suspected underground liquid ocean on the mysterious world that might be hospitable to alien life. Cassini’s tour is due to wind down in 2017, and scientists badly want to send a dedicated mission to Enceladus to look for signs of life. In fact, some have already started seriously thinking about exactly how they might do this—including planetary scientist...

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NASA just released a close-up of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

Posted by K R on

NASA just released a close-up of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

The Cassini spacecraft has beamed back the closest image taken yet of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, from above its south pole. On Oct. 28, Cassini dived through the moon’s icy plume, snapping the following unprocessed photo from just 30 miles above Enceladus’s surface. Cassini—a joint project from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency—was launched in 1997 and first entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. The spacecraft has flown closer to Enceladus’s surface in 2008, from an altitude of 16 miles (26 km), but has never dived down so close through its icy plume. The spacecraft will continue...

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