Tag Archives: Enceladus

Geyser hotspots found on Enceladus

This is a pretty exciting week for space exploration. While the Phoenix lander managed to image a single particle of Martian dust with its atomic force microscope and Hubble had orbited Earth more than 100,000 times, Cassini made a very close flyby of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

And one of the results from the Enceladus flyby is that Cassini managed to pinpoint the source of the incredible water geysers of Enceladus. They're deep cracks on the surface of the moon with icy debris all round them. I wonder what it would have looked like at ground zero when the geysers erupted?

Enceladus flyby

Cassini has just made its closest approach to Enceladus according to its tweets. It closed to a distance of 50 kilometers, or 30 miles, from the surface of Enceladus. Cassini still needs to send the data it collected back to Earth, which it should start sending at about 9PM Pacific time today. However, they say some of the best images of Enceladus were taken after Cassini made its closest approach, where it took photographs looking back at the moon as it flew away. These images won't arrive at Earth until tomorrow.

NASA has an entire blog dedicated to this single flyby, so head over there to get the nitty gritty details.