National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Multimedia
Spray Above Enceladus III
Spray Above Enceladus III (click to enlarge)
 
 

Spray Above Enceladus III
Date: 17 Feb 2005

Plumes of icy material extend above the southern polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus as imaged by the Cassini spacecraft in February 2005. The monochrome view is presented along with a color-coded version on the right. The latter reveals a fainter and much more extended plume component.


Images like these are being analyzed by scientists as they seek to explain the processes that could be producing such incredible features. As reported in the journal Science on 10 March 2006, imaging scientists believe that the plumes are geysers erupting from pressurized subsurface reservoirs of liquid water above 273° Kelvin (0° Celsius).


Another plume view, (Spray Above Enceladus II), was taken one month earlier and looks broadside at the moon's prominent "tiger stripe" fractures. In the January view, the plume appears to have a single component. This (February) view looks along the tiger stripe fractures and reveals both a large and a small component to the plume; the smaller, fainter component is separated from the main plume by about 100 km (60 miles). See Tiger Stripes Up Close for a view of the tiger stripe features.


This clear-filter image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 321,000 km (199,000 miles) from Enceladus at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 153°. The image scale is approximately 1.8 km (1.1 miles) per pixel.


The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.


For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .


Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute



Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 13 Oct 2010