FLYBY OF SATURN’S GEYSER MOON, ENCELADUS: HARBORS ALIEN LIFE?
December 19th is the final targeted Enceladus flyby of the mission assignment. The CIRS instrument witnessed the moon’s southerly polar landscape. By the time the voyage ends by 2017, Cassini would have secured observations more than six years of winter darkness while in the moon’s southern hemisphere. They are great environments when it comes to enhancing calculations of heat passage from the interior onto the surface area. Knowledge of heat flow is extremely important as it supplies significant info on just what is causing the geysers. “This final Enceladus flyby elicits feelings of both sadness and triumph,” said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager for JPL. “While we’re sad to have the close flybys behind us, we’ve placed the capstone on an incredible decade of investigating one of the most intriguing bodies in the solar system.” Cassini continues to observe activities on Enceladus through a distance, through the end of its mission assignment in Sept. 2017. Possible future occurrences shall be much farther away — at nearest, beyond 4x farther than this particular present experience.
It was the 22nd Enceladus voyage involved with Cassini’s journey. This spacecraft’s uncovering of geologic processes currently there, not long after getting to Saturn, caused alterations in the mission’s trip approach to boost the quantity and quality of flybys for this glacial moon. After exposing Enceladus’ unforeseen geologic activity in 2005, Cassini made a number of findings regarding the components gushing from balmy fractures nearby its south pole. Researchers released powerful facts for the topographical subsurface sea in 2014, revising their particular understanding in 2015 to confirm that this moon hosts a global ocean down below its slippery crust.