NASA Releases Closest Images of Enceladus As of Yet

Thursday, 15 October 2015 - 8:29PM
Solar System
Astrophysics
Thursday, 15 October 2015 - 8:29PM
NASA Releases Closest Images of Enceladus As of Yet
It's no secret that Saturn's moon, Enceladus, is one of the most likely candidates to host alien life in the solar system. Under it's surface is a global sea which many scientists believe could have hydrothermal activity occurring on the ocean floor. Such conditions create the perfect place to start searching for extraterrestrial life, and plans are already being executed so that scientists can gain a greater understanding of just what lies below the surface of Enceladus. And this week, the Cassini spacecraft gave earthlings their closest look at Saturn's icy satellite as of yet:





The pictures were taken some 1,839 kilometers above the moon, and show a wide array of craters throughout its surface. In reality, this is just Cassini's pregame. On Wednesday, October 28th, the spacecraft will dive right into a plume spouted off by one of Enceladus' geysers, orbiting just 49 kilometers above its surface! Scientists hope to find out even more about the waters that lie beneath the moon's outer shell from the data taken during the upcoming approach.

Enceladus' geysers are quite a spectacular feature of Saturn's icy natural satellite, as the material that they eject into space is one of the mechanisms that allow the planet to retain it's beautiful system of rings.

After the dive into Enceladus' icy plume on the 28th, one last flyby is scheduled for December 19th. On that date, the Cassini will orbit from a distance of 4,999 kilometers in attempts to determine just how much heat is coming from the moon's interior. With this information, astrophysicists will likely be able to estimate with greater accuracy just how likely it is that Enceladus could harbor alien life.
Science
NASA
Solar System
Astrophysics

Load Comments