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December 03, 2010

Hot Spots on Saturn Moon

Readings from the space orbiter Cassini provide evidence that there is in fact warmth coming up through the icy cracks of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons. Images taken from an infared spectrometer reveal that the heated lines, which they refer to as "tiger stripes" are some 245 degrees warmer than some of the coldest areas on the moon. Most of the attention in the article was focused on a particular fissure known as Damascus Sulcus, showing that its temperatures varied even within the warm trench. This evidence further supports the belief that this moon could have subsurface oceans.

Full article (with images of the stripes) available here: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/11/30/5555919-see-whats-hot-on-saturn-moon

Posted by devdrake at December 3, 2010 01:11 PM


This article further reinforces what we are learning in class. The reinforcement of previous data is certainly a step foreword towards studying the moon in detail for the possibility of habitability

Posted by: juswilks at December 4, 2010 01:10 PM

If it is the case in the solar system that moons can be the source of geologic activity, then I'm sure it is not uncommon for other star systems to have similar situations. This means that we could be looking too narrowly when searching for earth-like planets when moons could be the key to finding worlds with habitability.

Posted by: nealroth at December 8, 2010 01:03 AM

I am interested in knowing what methods scientists will use to see discover potential life on Enceladus, and wonder how long it will take for scientists to thoroughly investigate Enceladus enough to come to a clear position on whether or not it harbors life. I think it is great to know that astronomy is so relevant to today's news, that scientists are actually discovering new facts about planets and moons, like Enceladus, which we recently learned about in class.

Posted by: eswhang at December 14, 2010 02:12 AM

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