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Cassini to Fly Through Saturn Moon's Geyser Tomorrow (March 12)

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posted on Mar, 11 2008 @ 11:21 AM
The Cassini Spacecraft will fly through a water-ice geyser coming from Saturn's Moon Enceladus on Wednesday March 12 (tomorrow). Enceladus is thought to possibly have liquid water beneath its surface. This water shoots into space through a geyser located near the moon's south pole. Cassini has instruments that can analyze -- basically "taste" -- this water. NASA scientists feel that Enceladus is a moon that can harbor life beneath its surface.

Cassini Spacecraft to Dive Into Water Plume of Saturn Moon

PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make an unprecedented "in your face" flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wed., March 12.

The spacecraft, orchestrating its closest approach to date, will skirt along the edges of huge Old-Faithful-like geysers erupting from giant fractures on the south pole of Enceladus. Cassini will sample scientifically valuable water-ice, dust and gas in the plume...

Cassini flew through this geyser before (in 2005) but barely grazed the uppermost part of it. This time the craft will only be 50 km from the moon's surface on its closest approach, but about 200 km up when it hits the plume. If this works well, they plan on flying even closer on later fly-bys.

Here is the entire article:
Cassini Spacecraft to Dive Into Water Plume of Saturn Moon

It seems to me that we are finding water in more and more places in our solar system. Water seems much more prevalent than we thought just a couple of decades ago.

Here is another article written two years ago that talks about Enceladus and the possibility of life on that moon of Saturn. This article contains a picture of the geyser that Cassini will be flying through:
Liquid water on Saturn Moon Could Support Life

[edit on 3/11/2008 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Mar, 13 2008 @ 09:33 AM
UPDATE: Cassini Successfully Flys Through Water Ice Geyser

The Cassini spacecraft successfully flew through Enceladus' geyser yesterday. Enceladus seems to be NASA's newest target for their search for places that are habitable for life and where liquid water may exist.

News Article:
NY Times Article

When the information from this successful fly-through is analyzed, scientists hope to find out if and how Enceladus can be warm enough for liquid water to exist under its surface.

posted on Mar, 14 2008 @ 07:52 PM
A sad day for Cassini

It seems that due to a software error no readin was taken of the plume

The Cassini spacecraft has survived its passage though the ice plume of Enceladus and sent back close-up images and other data from this mysterious moon of Saturn, but not everything went according to plan. One vital experiment, which scientists hoped would help reveal the origin of the plume, failed to collect any data at the crucial moment.


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