NASA‘s Cassini mission has been spending some time looking at one of Saturn’s moons — specifically Enceladus, which is quite a unique piece of rock. What makes it so unique is the collection of water vapor geysers that are bunched up together at one portion of the moon, making it look like a propelled bubble that you’d find in the game Osmos.
These geysers were confirmed back in 2005, and it’s said that there are at least 98 geysers all located near the moon’s south pole, and the photo above does a great job showing off the beauty of water vapor shooting out of the moon’s surface. You can easily tell that the plume is has large as the diameter of the moon itself.
Since confirming the geysers in 2005, scientists have been continually trying to learn more about how they behave and where they are coming from. As of right now, the theory behind the geysers is that Enceladus has a liquid subsurface ocean, and pressure from the surface layers above that force the water up through surface cracks and out into space.
As far as what the plumes consist of, the Cassini space craft has flown through the geysers before and has determined that it’s a combination of water, organic material, and salt levels similar to that of our own oceans here on Earth. If the geyser indeed shoots the water vapor as far high as the diameter of the moon, that means that we’re looking at geysers that shoot plumes approximately 300 miles in the air.
[via Universe Today]