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Enceladus flyby reveals over 20 icy plumes

Posted on Thursday, February 25 2010 @ 12:27:20 CET by

NASA released new images from the Cassini spacecraft's November flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus, they reveal new features including at least 20 fractures spewing that spew a mix of ice particles, water vapor and organic compounds into space from the moon's southern pole. More info at Wired.
New infrared data gives scientists the highest resolution temperature map of one particular warm fissure called a “tiger stripe.” The moon’s four tiger stripes are fractures that spew a mix of ice particles, water vapor and organic compounds into space. They are a key clue for scientists trying to figure out if small moon harbors a liquid water ocean under its frosty surface. Now, scientists know that their temperatures can exceed 180 Kelvin (minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit).

“The fractures are chilly by Earth standards, but they’re a cozy oasis compared to the numbing 50 Kelvin (-370 Fahrenheit) of their surroundings,” said John Spencer, a composite infrared spectrometer team member based at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.



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