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Sturgeon's House

Water On Ganymede; Thermal Vents On Enceladus


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Both were suspected, it was just a matter of time until clear evidence proved these. The moons of the gas giants are certainly fascinating and are quite diverse and some, like these two, might harbor some sort of microbial extremophile lifeforms which would be very interesting. 

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Enceladus is a pretty interesting moon, not only is there evidence of organics, but the vents also are the source of saturn's E ring.

My senior project for undergrad was a design for an Enceladus orbiter/lander, I'll write a post with actual content once I'm not sitting in a dc airport on my phone.

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Saturn has a shitload of moons. One of them is Enceladus;




It's about 500 km in diameter, which is pretty large in comparison to most of Saturn's other moons, albeit much smaller than Titan or any of the Galilean moons around Jupiter. It's surface is covered mostly in water ice, which most likely extends down many kilometers.


In the southern hemisphere of Encleadus is a feature known as the 'Tiger Stripes'


(features on Enceladus are named after locations in the middle east, the Earth region most similar to Enceladus)


Data from the Cassini probe revealed two interesting things about the tiger stripes; they were venting water (and other particulates), and were much warmer than surrounding regions (temperatures of up to 157K were measured). Some of the water and particulates ejected falls back to the surface of Enceladus, while much of it ends up going into orbit, forming the E ring.


It's thought that much of the energy powering the cryovolcanism on Enceladus is caused by tidal forcing from Saturn, and to a lesser extent, Titan. However, the exact method by which the plumes are formed is not yet completely understood. Multiple models have been proposed;




The Cassini probe's spectrometers showed evidence of basic organic molecules (methane, benzene, and the like), but were unable to discern the presence of more complex molecules. Also, there's still quite a bit of uncertainty about the internal structure of Enceladus. If NASA ever managed to acquire money, it would be a good target for a dedicated exploration mission.

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