Feeds

Warm, perhaps ALIEN LIFE-bearing water gushers FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Hot wet spots seen on Enceladus' stripey bottom

Security for virtualized datacentres

Boffins have now counted 101 different geysers spewing material from the surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn's icy moons.

The discovery in data collected from NASA's Cassini probe reinforces the theory that a vast ocean is sloshing about beneath the cold surface. Some consider this to be the most promising location known for life to exist off Earth.

For almost seven years to 2012, the Cassini spacecraft has scanned an area close to the south pole of the moon, which is notable for four fractures that resemble tiger stripes. It was here that the first geysers were spotted in 2005, when researchers noticed a spray of water and icy particles.

More geysers were then observed and it was discovered they could be traced back to warm spots on the moon's surface, perhaps indicating they were created by the heat caused by great sheets of ice rubbing together under the influence of Saturn's gravity.

The latest research, announced today following earlier analysis of the probe's data, suggests the hotter the spot, the bigger the geyser.

Pardon me ... how gas escapes from Enceladus

“Once we had these results in hand we knew right away heat was not causing the geysers, but vice versa,” said Carolyn Porco, leader of the Cassini imaging team from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “It also told us the geysers are not a near-surface phenomenon, but have much deeper roots.”

The geysers were also found to vary in brightness as Enceladus orbits Saturn, a model referred to as "tidal flexing".

Two papers on the research – one titled How the Geysers, Tidal Stresses, and Thermal Emission across the South Polar Terrain of Enceladus are Related by Carolyn Porco, Daiana DiNino, and Francis Nimmo, and the other Tidally Modulated Eruptions on Enceladus: Cassini ISS Observations and Models – have been published in the latest edition of the Astronomical Journal. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
NASA eyeballs SOLAR HEAT BOMBS, MINI-TORNADOES and NANOFLARES on Sun
Astro boffins probe fiery star's hidden depths
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.