enceladus

Icy worlds like Europa and Enceladus might actually be too soft to land on

Icy worlds like Europa and Enceladus might actually be too soft to land on

Some truly interesting and ambitious missions have been proposed by NASA and other space agencies for the coming decades. Of these, perhaps the most ambitious include missions to explore the “Ocean Worlds” of the Solar System. Within these bodies, which include Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, scientists have theorized that life could exist in warm-water interior oceans.

New study says Enceladus had internal ocean for billions of years

New study says Enceladus had internal ocean for billions of years

When the Cassini mission arrived in the Saturn system in 2004, it discovered something rather unexpected in Enceladus’ southern hemisphere. From hundreds of fissures located in the polar region, plumes of water and organic molecules were spotted periodically spewing forth. This was the first indication that Saturn’s moon may have an interior ocean caused by hydrothermal activity near the core-mantle boundary.

Check out NASA's new instrument that will look for life on Enceladus

Check out NASA's new instrument that will look for life on Enceladus

Ever since the Cassini mission entered the Saturn system and began studying its moons, Enceladus has become a major source of interest. Once the probe detected plumes of water and organic molecules erupting from the moon’s southern polar region, scientists began to speculate that Enceladus may possess a warm-water ocean in its interior – much like Jupiter’s moon Europa and other bodies in our Solar System.

Jets from a Distance

Jets from a Distance

Enceladus' intriguing south-polar jets are viewed from afar, backlit by sunlight while the moon itself glows softly in reflected Saturn-shine.Observations of the jets taken from various viewing geometries provide different insights into these remarkable features. Cassini has gathered a wealth of information in the hopes of unraveling the mysteries of the subsurface ocean that lurks beneath the moon's icy crust.

Cassini Finds Saturn Moon May Have Tipped Over

Cassini Finds Saturn Moon May Have Tipped Over

Saturn's icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus may have tipped over in the distant past, according to recent research from NASA's Cassini mission. Researchers with the mission found evidence that the moon's spin axis -- the line through the north and south poles -- has reoriented, possibly due to a collision with a smaller body, such as an asteroid.

Warm poles suggest Enceladus' liquid water near surface

Warm poles suggest Enceladus' liquid water near surface

One of the biggest surprises from the Cassini mission to Saturn has been the discovery of active geysers at the south pole of the moon Enceladus. At only about 500 km (310 miles) in diameter, the bright and ice-covered moon should be too small and too far from the Sun to be active. Instead, this little moon is one of the most geothermally active places in the Solar System.

The search for extraterrestrial life in the water worlds close to home

The search for extraterrestrial life in the water worlds close to home

The discovery of seven exoplanets around a star 40 light years from our Sun has raised the possibility that they could harbour life. Why? Because the astronomers who made the discovery believe some of the planets may have liquid water. And on Earth, wherever there is liquid water, there is life. But we believe we can look much closer to Earth

Space submarines will allow us to explore the seas of icy moons

Space submarines will allow us to explore the seas of icy moons

One of the most profound and exciting breakthroughs in planetary science in the last two decades has been the discovery of liquid methane lakes on the surface of Saturn’s largest moon Titan, and liquid oceans under the icy surfaces of many of the giant gas planets' other moons. Thrillingly, these some of these “waters” may actually harbour life.