NASA: Ocean Possibly Discovered Inside Saturn Moon Enceladus

Diagram of potential liquid oceans between Enceladus' rocky core and icy surface. (NASA)

Diagram of potential liquid oceans between Enceladus’ rocky core and icy surface. (NASA)

NASA: Ocean Possibly Discovered Inside Saturn Moon Enceladus

In a press release this Tuesday, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discusses the high likelihood that there might be an ancient ocean lurking inside of Saturn’s Moon Enceladus. The finding, they said, “implies the fine spray of water vapor, icy particles and simple organic molecules Cassini has observed coming from fractures near the moon’s south pole is being fed by this vast liquid water reservoir.”

What tipped off researchers to this notion was the observation that Enceladus has a very slight wobble. By their estimates, this would not be the kind of behavior observed of a moon comprised of solid ice and rock.

“This was a hard problem that required years of observations, and calculations involving a diverse collection of disciplines, but we are confident we finally got it right,” said Peter Thomas, a Cassini imaging team member at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and lead author of the paper.

The discovery of this magnitude didn’t, however, happen over night. The wobble was observed over the course of 7 years through imaging by NASA’s Cassini probe scientists.

Also according to the release, Cassini is set to make a “close flyby” of Enceladus by October 28th, “in the mission’s deepest-ever dive through the moon’s active plume of icy material,” passing, “a mere 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon’s surface.”

The ocean is thought to cover the entire moon between the icy surface and rocky inner core.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. The Cassini imaging operations center is based at Space Science Institute.

What do you think of this amazing discovery? Could there be other life in our own little solar system after all?

Join us in the discussion! Comment, Share on Facebook and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk!

Staff Writer

Leo Ashcraft

A retired broadcast engineer, talk show host, news reporter - I have done everything there is to do in the radio broadcast business. I worked a year in television. I left that as my true passion has always been radio - plus I got tired of hearing - you have a face for radio.. I hope you enjoy my articles! Be sure to share them excessively on facebook - like our page and bug your friends with invites!

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1 Response

  1. Dan says:

    I don’t believe anything NASA says.

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