Infrared Scans Reveal Traces of Water on Enceladus

A team of researchers made an interesting discovery after survey data collected by the Cassini Probe, which spent 13 years observing Saturn and its moon. The experts managed to create an accurate map of Enceladus, learning interesting details about its geologic profile.

The map was created with the help of infrared images that were assembled into composite ones. New data infers that underground ice has managed to find its way to the surface in the northern hemisphere of the moon, which is quite interesting.

Collecting information

The Cassini Prove carried a wide assortment of scientific tools, including a Visible and Invisible Mapping Spectrometer that was used to observe the way in which light was reflected by Saturn, Saturn’s rings and the ten moons that orbit the giant planet. VIMS was able to divide light into different wavelengths, sending back critical information about the way in which it was reflected.

In 2005 it was observed that the surface of Enceladus is highly reflective, as it appears to be as white as a snowball when observed with the naked eye. Further research revealed that massive plumes of ice are ejected from an underground ocean, a theory which is confirmed by the new maps.

Fresh ice

The presence of the tell-tale infrared signs in the northern hemisphere infers that intense geologic activity takes place in both hemispheres. In the north, ice reaches the surface after being pushed through fractures found in the crust.

According to the infrared images, the surface close to the south pole was known to be younger, but the presence of a young region in the northern hemisphere was quite surprising. Further information could surface in the future, as the Cassini Probe managed to gather an impressive amount of information during its lifetime.

The extensive mission ended in 2017 when the probe entered the atmosphere of Saturn and ran out of fuel.

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