NASA's Cassini Images Reveal Spectacular Evidence of an Active Moon | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Airborne Unlimited-
Monday

Airborne-Unmanned w/AUVSI-
Tuesday

Airborne Unlimited-
Wednesday

AMA Drone Report-
Thursday

Airborne Unlimited-
Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 01.15.18

Airborne-UnManned 01.16.18

Airborne 01.17.18

AMA Drone Report 01.18.18

Airborne 01.19.18

Airborne-YouTube

Airborne 01.15.18

Airborne-UnManned 01.16.18

Airborne 01.17.18

AMA Drone Report 01.18.18

Airborne 01.19.18

Sun, Dec 11, 2005

NASA's Cassini Images Reveal Spectacular Evidence of an Active Moon

Jets of fine, icy particles streaming from Saturn's moon Enceladus were captured in recent images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The images provide unambiguous visual evidence that the moon is geologically active.

"For planetary explorers like us, there is little that can compare to the sighting of activity on another solar system body," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. "This has been a heart-stopper, and surely one of our most thrilling results."

The Cassini images clearly show multiple jets emanating from the moon's south polar region. Based on earlier data, scientists strongly suspected these jets arise from warm fractures in the region. The fractures, informally dubbed "tiger stripes," are viewed essentially broadside in the new images.

The fainter, extended plume stretches at least 186 kilometers (300 miles) above the surface of Enceladus, which is only 186 kilometers wide. Cassini flew through the plume in July, when it passed a few hundred kilometers above the moon. During that flyby, Cassini's instruments measured the plume's constituent water vapor and icy particles.

Imaging team members analyzed images of Enceladus taken earlier this year at similar viewing angles. It was a rigorous effort to demonstrate that earlier apparitions of the plumes, seen as far back as January, were in fact real and not due to imperfections in the camera.

The recent images were part of a sequence planned to confirm the presence of the plumes and examine them in finer detail. Imaging team member Dr. Andrew Ingersoll from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said, "I think what we're seeing are ice particles in jets of water vapor that emanate from pressurized vents. To form the particles and carry them aloft, the vapor must have a certain density, and that implies surprisingly warm temperatures for a cold body like Enceladus."

Imaging scientists are comparing the new views to earlier Cassini data in hopes of arriving at a more detailed, three-dimensional picture of the plumes and understanding how activity has come about on such a small moon. They are not sure about the precise cause of the moon's unexpected geologic vitality.

"In some ways, Enceladus resembles a huge comet," said Dr. Torrence Johnson, imaging team member from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. "Only, in the case of Enceladus, the energy source for the geyser-like activity is believed to be due to internal heating by perhaps radioactivity and tides rather than the sunlight which causes cometary jets." The new data also give yet another indication of how Enceladus keeps supplying material to Saturn's gossamer E ring.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European and Italian Space Agencies. JPL, a division of the Caltech, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute.

FMI: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov, www.nasa.gov/cassini, http://ciclops.org

Advertisement

More News

Airborne-Unmanned 01.16.18: AUVSI Trusted Operator, Typhoon H Plus, Intel

Also: Drones Tracking Illegal Dumping, Arctic UAS, Airspace Situational Awareness, TrueView R20 AUVSI has announced the appointment of leading industry stakeholders to serve on a s>[...]

Airborne 01.19.18: Airbus A380 Reprieve, FAA Sued, FAA Defends Drop Zone

Also: Skydiving Museum, Nature Air Suspended, IAC 2017 Collegiate Program, StandardAero Ceases LAX Ops You can hear the sigh of relief from across the Atlantic... After several mon>[...]

AMA Drone Report 01.18.18: 1 Million Drone Reg's, Autel EVO, FAA Sued Again

Also: New DJI Mavic?, SureFly Not Yet, Drones Tracking Illegal Dumping, 'Illicit' Drone Video The FAA has registered a million drones, the DOT announced last week at CES in Las Veg>[...]

Aero-News: Quote of the Day (01.21.18)

“Being in structural maintenance kind of centers around building parts for the aircraft. I took a personal interest in the project because it’s not something we normall>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (01.21.18): Obstacle Departure Procedure (ODP)

Obstacle Departure Procedure (ODP) A preplanned instrument flight rule (IFR) departure procedure printed for pilot use in textual or graphic form to provide obstruction clearance v>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2018 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC