Life on Enceladus?
Places to look for life in our Solar System
Places in the Solar System where life might exist (except the Moon and Ceres, which are just shown for scale).Credit: D. W. Hoard (2018), assembled form public domain NASA images
Saturn's small moon Enceladus – another ocean world?
Ice geyser curtains observed in tiger-striped region of Enceladus
Researchers modeled eruptions on Saturn's moon Enceladus as uniform curtains along prominent fractures that stretch across the icy moon's south pole. They found that brightness enhancements appear as optical illusions in places where the viewer is looking through a "fold" in the curtain (left image). The folds exist because the fractures in Enceladus' surface are more wavy than perfectly straight. The researchers think this optical illusion is responsible for most - but not all - of what appear to be individual jets. Some discrete jets ("cryogeysers") are still required to explain observations by the Cassini spacecraft.Credit (image and some text): NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/PSI [link]
Structure of Enceladus
This artist's rendering showing a cutaway view into the interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus. NASA's Cassini spacecraft discovered the moon has a global subsurface ocean and likely localized hydrothermal activity. A plume of ice particles, water vapor, and organic molecules sprays from fractures in the moon's south polar region.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech [link]