Photo: Sources of Saturn Moon's Supersonic Water Jets Revealed



An artist's rendering shows the Cassini spacecraft flying past a geyser of water vapor and dust erupting from Saturn's icy moon Enceladus.

Data from the Cassini mission released in November 2008 show that the jets are coming from vents each about the size of a professional sports stadium. The researchers think the jets are formed when liquid water from pools not far beneath the surface accelerates as vapor passes through a maze of nozzle-like channels before erupting into space.

Image courtesy JPL/NASA


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