Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is it Snowing Microbes on Saturn's Moon Enceladus? 


March 27, 2012: There's a tiny moon orbiting beyond Saturn's rings that's full of promise, and maybe -- just maybe -- microbes.
In a series of tantalizingly close flybys to the moon, named "Enceladus," NASA's Cassini spacecraft has revealed watery jets erupting from what may be a vast underground sea. These jets, which spew through cracks in the moon's icy shell, could lead back to a habitable zone that is uniquely accessible in all the solar system.
Microbes on Enceladus? (seams, 558px)
Dramatic plumes, both large and small, spray water ice from many locations near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. More than 30 individual jets of different sizes can be seen in this image captured during a flyby of NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Nov. 21, 2009. [more]



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