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But the discovery is important because it suggests there is a process at work around the solar system's gas giants, Saturn and Jupiter, in which oxygen is released from their icy satellites.
It seems that highly charged particles from the planets' powerful radiation belts split the water in the ice into hydrogen and oxygen.
Dione's sister moon, Enceladus is thought to harbour a liquid ocean below its icy surface. The same is thought to be true of Europa, Callisto and Ganymede which orbit Jupiter.
Prof Coates is among a group of scientists lobbying the European Space Agency to send an orbiter to explore Jupiter's icy moons - known as the Juice mission.
"These are fascinating places to look for signs of life," he said.
As is Titan, Saturn's largest satellite. Its nitrogen and methane atmosphere is reminiscent of the early Earth, according to Prof Coates.
"It may be an Earth waiting to happen as the outer Solar System warms up," he said.
Multiple generations of fractures are visible here. Numerous fine, roughly parallel linear grooves run across the terrain from top to bottom and are interrupted by the larger, irregular bright fractures. In several places, fractures postdate some deposits in the bottoms of craters that are not badly degraded by time. Such a fracture, for example, runs from the center toward the upper right.
Most of the craters seen here have bright walls and dark deposits of material on their floors. As on other Saturnian moons, rockslides on Dione may reveal cleaner ice, while the darker materials accumulate in areas of lower topography and lower slope (e.g. crater floors and the bases of scarps).
Originally posted by gortex
How long till we discover life in our own back yard ? , I know this probably isn't it but I do feel its getting closer almost by the day
how then can Dione when it is a third of the size of the earth moon support an exosphere?
Originally posted by RestlessNRG
Very interesting Dione has an exosphere S&F. it was my understanding that the Earth Moon was too small/ light to be able to hold onto it's atmosphere. how then can Dione when it is a third of the size of the earth moon support an exosphere? Before you say well it must be denser, its not. its mass is only 1.5% of our moon's and its a third of the size.
Originally posted by el1jah
For the sake of conversation, what do you think about``seeding life``. Would it be a good idea to send capsules containing various bacteria, plants etc. To the bodies in our system in order to potentially jump start life there. Or would it be an abomination of nature to do so?
post by el1jah
For the sake of conversation, what do you think about``seeding life``.