Image: Facing Enceladus

Apr 23, 2013
This face-on colour view of Enceladus was taken by the international Cassini spacecraft on 31 January 2011, from a distance of 81 000 km, and processed by amateur astronomer Gordan Ugarković. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/G. Ugarković

(Phys.org) —A patchwork network of frozen ridges and troughs cover the face of Enceladus, Saturn's most enigmatic of icy moons.

This face-on colour view of Enceladus was taken by the international Cassini spacecraft on 31 January 2011, from a distance of 81 000 km, and processed by amateur astronomer Gordan Ugarković.

Saturn's imposing massages the moon's icy shell, buckling it into ridges that tower over deep fractures.

The cavernous scar towards the south, which may plunge to depths of a kilometre, cuts across other features, indicating its relative youth. By contrast, the cratered region to the north, which is split in two by a vast swath of grooved terrain, hints at a much older surface that has so far escaped the resurfacing experienced elsewhere.

Enceladus is a moon bursting at the seams: along the , plumes of ice particles mixed with water vapour, salts and organic material jet from fissures nicknamed 'tiger stripes'.

Some of the plumes pump their spray into space at speeds of over 2000 km/h, injecting particles into Saturn's E-ring.

The chemistry of the plumes suggests that there may be a hidden beneath the moon's surface that could provide a suitable habitat for life.

A thin crescent of is illuminated by incident sunlight coming from the right hand side of this frame, including sunlight that has been reflected by Saturn onto the moon.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Space Image: Rings, Titan and Enceladus

Apr 19, 2012

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus hangs below the gas giant’s rings while Titan lurks in the background, in this new image taken by the Cassini spacecraft.   Faint detail of the tiger stripe mark ...

Orion's belt lights up Cassini's view of Enceladus

Oct 19, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini mission will take advantage of the position of two of the three stars in Orion's belt when the spacecraft flies by Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wed., Oct. 19. As the hot, bright ...

Enceladus' jets reach all the way to its sea

Mar 20, 2013

Thanks to the Cassini mission we've known about the jets of icy brine spraying from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus for about 8 years now, but this week it was revealed at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference outside Houst ...

Cassini flyby focuses on Saturn's moon Enceladus

Nov 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn's moon Enceladus shows its icy face and famous plumes in raw, unprocessed images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its successful flyby on Nov. 6, 2011.

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

22 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.