Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Enceladus Erupting Water; Could Harbor Life

That Saturn's tiny, icy moon called Enceladus was spouting water vapor is old news. That this water vapor comes from geyser-like vents of barely subsurface water pools heated to above freezing is shockingly new.

Not only does this make Enceladus ( just 498 km in diameter) one of only three places in the Solar System where active volcanism can be found--Jupiter's moon Io and Earth are the other two. (Neptune's moon Triton is also a possibility, but that's still unconfirmed.) It's also one of only four locations where liquid water is found--Earth, Mars and Europa being the other three. And these two facts make it one of a growing number of places which scientists believe may harbor life.
Check out this cool NASA video for more info. Or if you're feeling nostalgic, check out this old Voyager flyby movie from a couple decades back.

Life. The possibilities are seemingly endless...

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