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Deep heat powers once-in-a-billion-year volcanoes on icy moon

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posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 07:00 AM
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Physorg Article



The mystery relates to Saturn’s tiny ice moon Enceladus. Until relatively recently, very little had been known about Enceladus, however scientists expected it to be a cold and dead place given its physical characteristics.




In their article, the scientists show how their computer simulations demonstrate that over billions of years the pent up energy from the tidal forces Enceladus experiences on its orbit around Saturn eventually melt its interior ice, and result in a pulse of crashing ice plates and ice volcanoes, or cryovolcanism





“Enceladus was an enigma,” said O’Neill, who was lead scientist on the study. “Somehow it seems to be pumping out more energy than it gets, which would violate the laws of thermodynamics,” he said. “We knew from the prior Voyager missions that Enceladus might have a complex geology, but most people thought that was in the past. Yet it turns out this 500km-across ball of ice is one of the most active moons or planets in the solar system.” The pent-up heat - enough to melt the interior, and possibly sustain a liquid water ocean under the ice - would be released as one catastrophic event around every billion years or so. Cassini just happened to fly into it, O’Neill said. “Eventually you reach a critical point, and the whole thing just blows,” he said. The ice sheets would flow like glaciers, the heat causing geysers to pop up all over the active surface, he added. It turns out the little worlds like Enceladus are among the most interesting, which makes us reflect on what we think we know of the processes that shape Earth’s interior.”




posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 07:37 AM
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The pent-up heat - enough to melt the interior, and possibly sustain a liquid water ocean under the ice - would be released as one catastrophic event around every billion years or so. Cassini just happened to fly into it, O’Neill said.


Are we seriously expected to believe that?? The probability of humans launching the first ever Saturn orbiter at just the right time to catch a "once in a billion years" event at Enceladus strikes me as being about as improbable as you can get.



posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 08:22 AM
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reply to post by Mogget
 


While reading the article I was thinking boy this sounds like scientists will say anything to continue their preconceived notions.

Once I got to that part I quit reading.

Star for you.



posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by Mogget

The pent-up heat - enough to melt the interior, and possibly sustain a liquid water ocean under the ice - would be released as one catastrophic event around every billion years or so. Cassini just happened to fly into it, O’Neill said.


Are we seriously expected to believe that?? The probability of humans launching the first ever Saturn orbiter at just the right time to catch a "once in a billion years" event at Enceladus strikes me as being about as improbable as you can get.


Considering how big the universe is "once in a billion years" is quite common.



posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 08:49 AM
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Originally posted by endisnighe
reply to post by Mogget
 


While reading the article I was thinking boy this sounds like scientists will say anything to continue their preconceived notions.

Once I got to that part I quit reading.

.

Star for you.


You are saying that they just want their "model" to fit?
I'm not sure I see what advantages the scientists here would have from lying about that. To fit their model of the solar system is what I think you mean.
Why are we not meant to believe this? In all honesty this is a conspiracy sight. Are you suggesting that they knew of it and timed it perfectly?
It sounds like you are saying it isn't real in the first place.



posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 09:03 AM
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reply to post by dragonsmusic
 


No, just that the model they set up of a billion years cycle JUST so happened to coincide with the fly by.

It is preposterous to believe that preconceived notions or theorems cannot be adjusted when you have evidence to the contrary.

Unless I was inferring incorrectly the assumption made by this comment in the article.




The pent-up heat - enough to melt the interior, and possibly sustain a liquid water ocean under the ice - would be released as one catastrophic event around every billion years or so. Cassini just happened to fly into it, O’Neill said.


I believe the article is too short to understand what came first, the fly by of Cassini or the theory.

I just read it again and I would have to ask the author several questions to understand what they are even trying to say.

Unless I am the only one.



posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 09:24 AM
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Originally posted by endisnighe
reply to post by dragonsmusic
 


No, just that the model they set up of a billion years cycle JUST so happened to coincide with the fly by.

It is preposterous to believe that preconceived notions or theorems cannot be adjusted when you have evidence to the contrary.

Unless I was inferring incorrectly the assumption made by this comment in the article.




The pent-up heat - enough to melt the interior, and possibly sustain a liquid water ocean under the ice - would be released as one catastrophic event around every billion years or so. Cassini just happened to fly into it, O’Neill said.


I believe the article is too short to understand what came first, the fly by of Cassini or the theory.

I just read it again and I would have to ask the author several questions to understand what they are even trying to say.

Unless I am the only one.


No you are not the only one. I totally agree about asking the authors lots of questions. They are not as clear as they should be and I think that's where the confusion comes from.

It's linguistically atrocious IMHO



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