Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cassini Makes Successful Flight Through Plume Of Saturn's Moon Enceladus

Date:
November 10, 2009
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
The Cassini spacecraft has weathered the Monday, Nov. 2, flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus in good health and has been sending images and data of the encounter back to Earth. Cassini had approached Enceladus more closely before, but this passage took the spacecraft on its deepest plunge yet through the heart of the plume shooting out from the south polar region. Scientists are eagerly sifting through the results.

Cassini's camera captured this image of the misty plume spewing from the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus on its Nov. 2, 2009, flyby.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft has weathered the Monday, Nov. 2, flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus in good health and has been sending images and data of the encounter back to Earth. Cassini had approached Enceladus more closely before, but this passage took the spacecraft on its deepest plunge yet through the heart of the plume shooting out from the south polar region. Scientists are eagerly sifting through the results.

In the unprocessed image above (top left), sunlight brightens a crescent curve along the edge of Enceladus and highlights the moon's misty plume. The image was captured by Cassini's narrow-angle camera as the spacecraft passed about 190,000 kilometers (120,000 miles) over the moon.

Another raw image (top right) appears to show separate jets spewing from the moon. This image was taken from approximately 330,000 kilometers (200,000 miles) away.

At its closest point on Nov. 2, Cassini flew about 100 kilometers (60 miles) above the surface of Enceladus.

Since the discovery of the plume in 2005, scientists have been captivated by the enigmatic jets. Previous flybys detected water vapor, sodium and organic molecules, but scientists need to know more about the plume's composition and density to characterize the source, possibly a liquid ocean under the moon's icy surface. It would also help them determine whether Enceladus has the conditions necessary for life.

Mission managers did extensive studies to make sure the spacecraft could fly safely through the plumes and not use an excessive amount of propellant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Cassini Makes Successful Flight Through Plume Of Saturn's Moon Enceladus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091108214703.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2009, November 10). Cassini Makes Successful Flight Through Plume Of Saturn's Moon Enceladus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091108214703.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Cassini Makes Successful Flight Through Plume Of Saturn's Moon Enceladus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091108214703.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) A total lunar eclipse, the first since December 2011, took place early Tuesday morning with the Americas getting the best glimpse. Duration: 1:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) New research says the urea from urine could be recycled for fuel. Urea is filtered out of wastewater when making drinking water. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins