Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Enceladus shows Cassini its hot spots!

In areas, previously not well mapped, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented 30 individual geysers, including more than 20 that had not been seen before on Saturn's moon Enceladus. These geysers are situated along a network of fractures on Enceladus' southern pole. Cassini's on-board composite infrared spectrometer shows that the ice sprays contain water ice, water vapor and organic compounds.

The areas around these geysers proved to be very warm by local averages. -135 degrees Fahrenheit and may be as high as -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to an average of -370 Fahrenheit these fracture hot spots are very warm indeed.

This last pass by Cassini will be the last to use visible light cameras, as Enceladus will now enter a 15 year period of darkness.

Check out the complete article on ScienceDaily

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