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Space & Astronomy

Scientists confirm 'great lake' on Enceladus

By T.K. Randall
April 4, 2014 · Comment icon 17 comments

A close-up view of Saturn's icy moon. Image Credit: NASA/JPL
New data from the Cassini space probe has confirmed the presence of water under the moon's surface.
Saturn's moon Enceladus has been of great interest to scientists ever since images showed that there appeared to be jets of icy material shooting up in to space along its south pole.

Now thanks to new measurements from NASA's Cassini spacecraft it has been confirmed that this distant body is also home to a large body of liquid water deep down below its icy surface.
"The measurements that we have done are consistent with the existence of a large water reservoir about the size of Lake Superior in North America," said Prof Luciano less.

The discovery elevates Enceladus to the status of being one of the most important places to go to look for evidence of alien life within our own solar system. Just like on its Jovian cousin Europa, a subterranean liquid ocean could make it the perfect place to find extraterrestrial organisms.

Source: BBC News | Comments (17)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by Mentalcase 10 years ago
This is cool science. Glad we sent Cassini!
Comment icon #9 Posted by Xanthurion2 10 years ago
Very interesting.
Comment icon #10 Posted by paperdyer 10 years ago
ahh anyway this news is very encouraging and with a better understanding if there is any some sort of life, how it can survive without heat or sunlight far from the sun Space heaters and Sun Lamps!
Comment icon #11 Posted by Whatsinausername 10 years ago
They've found a liquid, but how do they determine that it's water without physical testing?
Comment icon #12 Posted by Yes_Man 10 years ago
They've found a liquid, but how do they determine that it's water without physical testing? Geysers were photographed ejecting liquid under the ice
Comment icon #13 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 10 years ago
The heat comes from tidal forces by Saturn and orbital resonance with several other moons.
Comment icon #14 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 years ago
and what could be hiding underneath that ice in the waters?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Ryu 10 years ago
So..that means that Encladus is still geologically active then?
Comment icon #16 Posted by taniwha 10 years ago
From link, "........It's got several of the things which you need for life - there's certainly the presence of heat, there's liquid water in this ocean, there's organics and that type of chemistry going on.." The article mentioned there was enough heat....doesn't sound like too warm of a place to me. Lucky to have Cassini fly right thru it @ just the right time. Theres always a chance of life because this moon has an atmosphere. Also the evidence of ice-tectonics could in theory prove just as lucky. http://www.space.com/4076-plate-tectonics-essential-alien-life.html Life on this world might be... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Yes_Man 10 years ago
and what could be hiding underneath that ice in the waters? anything to micro organisms to shrimp i guess


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