The infrared images from Cassini are providing new clues about how geologically active Enceladus is, not only at its south pole with the dramatic watery plumes, but elsewhere on the this little icy world as well. The new infrared images, from Cassini’s Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), are the most detailed ever made of Enceladus’ surface from data sent back by the Cassini mission, which ended in September 2017. Bottom: (left) The north pole and (right) the south, showing the tiger stripes and fresh ice from geysers. VIMS took a lot of spectra of Enceladus over time, mapping the entire surface. Until now, this kind of activity was seen only at the moon’s south pole. Conditions under the surface are actually quite hospitable for … The researchers found that, surprisingly, the moon’s north polar region also showed evidence of resurfacing by ice, even though it lacks any known geysers or tiger stripe-like fissures. Due to the differences between fresh and old ice, fresh ice appears red in the images. While scientists struggle to comprehend them, analogous plumes and jets elsewhere in … Now that has changed. At this moon’s south pole, water is seen to comes up to the surface through giant cracks in the ice called tiger stripes. In 2015, the blog was renamed as Planetaria. on Twitter, Share Saturn's moon Enceladus shows fresh ice: More geysers on the tiny iceworld? Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech. Scientists using mission data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have identified 101 distinct geysers erupting on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. It's a complex task, but that's just what the planetary scientists did in the new work, creating a global map that corrects for these issues. Now scientists have evidence that the moon’s north polar region is also geologically active, although on a smaller scale. Water-vapor geysers erupt from cracks at the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. While interested in all aspects of space exploration, his primary passion is planetary science. Gabriel Tobie, VIMS scientist with the University of Nantes in France and co-author of the new paper, said in a statement: The infrared shows us that the surface of the south pole is young, which is not a surprise because we knew about the jets that blast icy material there. The terrain is much more cratered than in the south, but the infrared images in the new study – and the cracks in the surface seen here – show that there has been at least some geological activity in the region. Enceladus perhaps a bit more likely. There's a subsurface ocean there under a thick ice shell, and possibly a rocky core that makes the water salty. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and a number of other instruments were used to learn about the periodical plumes of water vapour that reaches up to 120 miles above the icy surface of the Europa. 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Europa is among the four massive Galilean moons that orbit the gas giant and houses a gigantic ocean of salty water which can be found under its ice shell. Like Comic-Con. A visible light mosaic of Enceladus, a tiny icy moon of Saturn. He started his blog The Meridiani Journal in 2005, which was a chronicle of planetary exploration. Additional studies have shown that the ocean is similar to Earth’s oceans in terms of salinity, and there is even evidence for active geothermal vents on the ocean floor. In this image, the famous tiger stripes fissures – from which water erupts in strange alien geysers – can be seen at the moon’s south pole. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/LPG/CNRS/University of Nantes/Space Science Institute. Unsurprisingly, this makes planetary scientists extremely interested in the tiny 500 km wide moon (about the same size as my home state of Colorado). Saturn's icy moon Enceladus has one of the most amazing features in all the solar system: a series of huge geysers erupting from cracks near its south pole, water ice blasting into space due to huge pressures under the surface. No geysers were seen from this region in any of the Cassini passes, so either there aren't any there or they're very weak. The maps shown here use different colors to represent different parts of the infrared spectrum. A spectrometer breaks the light up from an object into individual colors (or wavelengths). Since this is basically seawater being spewn out into space, this provides important clues as to what conditions are like in the ocean. This was both visible light that can be seen by human eyes as well as infrared light, which tells scientists more about the makeup of the material reflecting it. Jupiter’s moon Europa is known as a water world in the outer solar system. A new analysis of Cassini date shows that Enceladus’ north pole might be resurfaced by fresh ice deposits. Using NASA's Cassini spacecraft orbiting … Could it be more geysers for this fascinating ice moon? Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. Source: Photometrically-corrected global infrared mosaics of Enceladus: New implications for its spectral diversity and geological activity. It's a great legacy for fantastic mission. Or the fresh ice might be due to water forced up from the subsurface ocean through cracks in the moon’s icy crust. There's an interactive version you can play with, too; click and drag to move it around. Saturn's moon Enceladus shows fresh ice: More geysers on the tiny iceworld? This doesn’t prove there is life there yet, but the evidence indicates there well could be. The famous geysers of water vapor at Enceladus’ south pole erupt through huge cracks in the icy surface. 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As the water vapor re-freezes in Enceladus’ extremely tenuous atmosphere, it forms ice particles that fall back down and coat the moon’s south polar region with fresh ice. Bottom line: A new study of infrared images of Saturn’s moon Enceladus shows that the moon’s north pole is geologically active. Gabriel Tobie, VIMS scientist at the University of Nantes and co-author of the new study. Monster sunspot AR2786 swings into better view. The incredible observations it took are all back on Earth, stored on computers, still ready to be analyzed or re-analyzed, processed by scientists who have new ideas for the old data. This was hinted at in earlier work, but shows up clearly here. Now, thanks to these infrared eyes, you can go back in time and say that one large region in the northern hemisphere appears also young and was probably active not that long ago, in geologic timelines. The spacecraft found water vapor, ice particles, salts, methane, silica (SiO2), molecular hydrogen (H2) and a variety of simple and complex organic molecules. on Facebook, Share Saturn's moon Enceladus shows fresh ice: More geysers on the tiny iceworld? The new peer-reviewed study was published in the October 2020 issue of Icarus. Weak geysers at this pole could be the reason. Saturn’s moon Enceladus is famous for the huge water-vapor geysers at its south pole, which are thought to originate from a global ocean deep … That means you can't just compare one spectrum taken at one time with a second taken at some other time; you have to correct for these changes in angles. Scientists using Cassini data now have evidence for fresh ice at the moon’s north pole, too. Those findings open up intriguing new possibilities for life in Enceladus’ subsurface watery abyss. VIMS collected light reflected off Saturn, its rings and its ten largest icy moons.

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