Through the plume
Cindy Tumiel: Express-News
A greatly enhanced and colorized image of the Saturn moon Enceladus shows the continuously erupting plume that Cassini flew through. The basic building blocks of living organisms abound on the mysterious and distant moon, scientists said.
"What something like a comet is doing orbiting Saturn is a very interesting question," said Hunter Waite, a space scientist from Southwest Research Institute who is part of the Cassini science team. "This is going to make us think a second time about the formation of the Saturn system."
Cassini also detected heat in the geysers, which erupt from four parallel cracks, each about 80 miles long, covering the satellite's southern pole. Surface temperatures around the geyser spouts are about minus 135 degrees. That is plenty cold, but it still is 200 degrees warmer than other regions of the moon, said John Spencer, another Southwest Research Institute scientist. This suggests some powerful source of heat in the interior of the moon, he said.