Scientists Discover the Source of Supersonic Water Jets on Saturn

November 27, 2008

NASA (ChattahBox) — Scientists had discovered a plume of water vapor and dust shooting from Saturn’s moon, Enceladus at supersonic but didn’t know the cause for these supersonic water jets until recently. The water jets are shooting from vents each of about the size of a professional sports stadium. The recent study indicates that the gas and dust is escaping from relatively small vents along those fissures.

“We are making the distinction between the whole plume and individual jets in it, like streamers or searchlight beams,” said team member Larry Esposito, of the University of Colorado in Boulder.

According to the astronomers, the appearance of these gases and dust give a strong indication of water on the planet, which may indicate the presence of life. This further lends support to the theory proposed for Enceladus which indicated the moon to be the most promising celestial body to bear life.

The images obtained by astronomers from the Cassini probe indicate Enceladus’ icy terrain contained water vapor. This analysis has come from the light signature of the vapors coming out of the vents.

Enceladus lies in the region where the temperature is close to minus 273 degree centigrade or minus 460 degree Fahrenheit. However, the scientists have claimed the moon to be geologically active due to the process of tidal heating on its surface. It experiences strong gravitational pull from its giant mother and from nearby satellite of Dionne and Janus. Thus, the guts on the surface are stretched and squeezed which leads to friction that warms the sub-surface ocean.


One Response to “Scientists Discover the Source of Supersonic Water Jets on Saturn”

  1. sylvia on November 29th, 2008 4:00 pm

    love the picture

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