Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Cassini spacecraft has sprouted new images of Saturn's geyser-spouting moon, Enceladus. NASA released latest close-ups of the little icy moon on Friday.
Scientists believe this source of heat could make the ocean on Enceladus an ideal place to look for signs of alien life. The amount of molecular hydrogen in the plume, is one of the most important measurements Cassini took.
Is the ocean environment within Enceladus habitable? Determining that is one of the main goals of the Cassini flyby and the answer would make clearer how material is getting to the moon's surface from the ocean below.
According to Associated Press, project scientist Linda Spilker believes that the images are stunning, but the most exciting is yet to come in the form of scientific data. The geyser measurements are still coming down from the Saturn-orbiting Cassini. It will take weeks to analyze it all.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft began transmitting latest images of Saturn's icy, geologically active moon Enceladus, acquired during the dramatic Oct. 28 flyby in which the probe passed about 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon's south polar region. The spacecraft will continue transmitting its data from the encounter for the next several days.
On Wednesday, Cassini will storm through a jet of water vapor and frozen particles erupting from the south pole of Enceladus, one of Saturn's many moons. Cassini, along with Enceladus itself, will essentially become a part of Saturn. The report of the dive will be acquired over a duration of several weeks.
Cassini is the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn, and it has been circling the planet since 2004.