New Look at Geysers on Saturn Moon Chills Chances of Life

<< Back to Page 1   Page 2 of 2

A second Nature study suggests that Enceladus's orbit, and corresponding tides on Saturn, could make the geyser eruptions regular and predictable.

Though the ice-friction theory could strike a blow to hopes for liquid water near the moon's surface, the theory still proposes that liquid water exist somewhere inside Enceladus.

"We suggest that you need to have an ocean somewhere down there," Nimmo explained.

"If you didn't, the ice shell would be stuck to the rigid rock interior [and would not move]. If there is an ocean below and the ice shell is floating, it could move to produce the friction and heating."

Amy Simon-Miller, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, says it may be some time before Enceladus's true nature is known.

"The details of the internal structure may or may not be discernable from these predictions," she cautioned, "because Cassini is just not optimized for studying Enceladus.

"We probably won't get a good sense of the interior until we can send [a] dedicated mission."

Free Email News Updates
Sign up for our Inside National Geographic newsletter. Every two weeks we'll send you our top stories and pictures (see sample).

<< Back to Page 1   Page 2 of 2


SOURCES AND RELATED WEB SITES

ADVERTISEMENT

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S PHOTO OF THE DAY

NEWS FEEDS     After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.   After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS

National Geographic Daily News To-Go

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.
Click here to get 12 months of National Geographic Magazine for $15.