Behold: five hemispheric views of the icy Saturnian moon Endceladus (the sixth largest of 82) captured by the Cassini spacecraft. To wit:

In false colour, the five panels present 13 years of infrared image data from Cassini’s Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer and Imaging Science Subsystem. Fresh ice is coloured red, and the most dramatic features look like long gashes in the 500 kilometre diameter moon’s south polar region. They correspond to the location of tiger stripes, surface fractures that likely connect to an ocean beneath the Enceladus ice shell. The fractures are the source of the moon’s icy plumes that continuously spew into space. The plumes were discovered by by Cassini in 2005. Now, reddish hues in the northern half of the leading hemisphere view also indicate a recent resurfacing of other regions of the geologically active moon, a world that may hold conditions suitable for life.

(Image: VIMS Team, SSI, U. Arizona, U. Nantes, CNRS, ESA, NASA)

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7 thoughts on “Ice World

  1. Janet, I ate my avatar

    love these posts, puts it all in perspective

    “Out of the night that covers me
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.
    I am the captain of my fate,
    I am the master of my soul”

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