Cassini spacecraft data suggests hydrothermal activity beneath Enceladus' surface

March 15, 2015 6:01 PM

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Cassini spacecraft data suggests hydrothermal activity beneath Enceladus' surface

Scientists working with data from NASA’s Cassini-Solstice mission have discovered evidence of present-day hydrothermal activity beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Hydrothermal activity occurs when seawater penetrates and reacts with a rocky crust and emerges as a heated, mineral laden solution. While this in a natural occurrence in Earth’s oceans, the new findings are the first clear indications the similar processes may be occurring on an icy moon. The results were recently published in two scientific papers.

“These findings add to the possibility that Enceladus, which contains a subsurface ocean and displays remarkable geologic activity, could contain environments suitable for living organisms,” said John Grunsfeld astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington...

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