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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Global Oceans on Enceladus Could Support Extraterrestrial Life | Cassini Finds Global Ocean in Saturn's Moon Enceladus

The Cassini spacecraft recently gathered evidence supporting the notion that Saturn's moon Enceladus is a massive water world. 

The moon has a surface layer of ice sitting on top of a liquid ocean, heated by thermal vents deep within the sphere. On Earth, scientists long thought that no life could exist deep within the ocean but after submarines dove down to explore the light robbed environment; they found ecosystems of life being supported by the same type of thermal vents. 

Combining these findings with the following two discoveries about life found in deep space - the panspermia theories of the past - stating that life is everywhere in the universe, begin to take on much more validity. 



Related Life In Space Confirmed | Scientists Release Picture of Extraterrestrials Bombarding Earth

Related Life Everywhere in the Universe - Does Life Emerge from the Environment? | RNA, Sea Plankton on ISS and Freeze Dried Bacteria

As discoveries continue to pile up suggesting that the universe is teaming with life, one wonders if many of the UFO and ET insiders that have come forward over the years stating our universe is filled with not only life, but intelligent races, now have mainstream science confirming their assertions. 

Related 3 Soft ET Disclosure Articles | Roswell UFO Alien Photos, DNA Building Blocks Created By Exploding Stars & Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has Lakes

Years ago, the idea of finding life beyond Earth was all but scientific heresy, but now the paradigm has shifted and it seems this is yet one more soft disclosure preparing humanity for a much grander unveiling. It has been reported that humanity has made contact with ET races all throughout it's history, yet only recently did we have enough mainstream scientific data to discuss these ideas with the unaware public. 

Eventually, the existence of otherworldly life will be considered a given, but until then, those of us who have come to know the truth more clearly, can share it with others and allow these consciousness uplifting topics to enrich the worldview's of our fellows. 


- Justin

Source - NASA
Illustration of the interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus showing a global liquid water ocean between its rocky core and icy crust. Thickness of layers shown here is not to scale.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
View Unlabeled Image

A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn's geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA's Cassini mission.

Researchers found the magnitude of the moon's very slight wobble, as it orbits Saturn, can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior, meaning a global ocean must be present.



The finding implies the fine spray of water vapor, icy particles and simple organic molecules Cassini has observed coming from fractures near the moon's south pole is being fed by this vast liquid water reservoir. The research is presented in a paper published online this week in the journal Icarus.

Previous analysis of Cassini data suggested the presence of a lens-shaped body of water, or sea, underlying the moon's south polar region. However, gravity data collected during the spacecraft's several close passes over the south polar region lent support to the possibility the sea might be global. The new results -- derived using an independent line of evidence based on Cassini's images -- confirm this to be the case.

"This was a hard problem that required years of observations, and calculations involving a diverse collection of disciplines, but we are confident we finally got it right," said Peter Thomas, a Cassini imaging team member at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and lead author of the paper.

Cassini scientists analyzed more than seven years' worth of images of Enceladus taken by the spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since mid-2004. They carefully mapped the positions of features on Enceladus -- mostly craters -- across hundreds of images, in order to measure changes in the moon's rotation with extreme precision.

As a result, they found Enceladus has a tiny, but measurable wobble as it orbits Saturn. Because the icy moon is not perfectly spherical -- and because it goes slightly faster and slower during different portions of its orbit around Saturn -- the giant planet subtly rocks Enceladus back and forth as it rotates.

The team plugged their measurement of the wobble, called a libration, into different models for how Enceladus might be arranged on the inside, including ones in which the moon was frozen from surface to core.

"If the surface and core were rigidly connected, the core would provide so much dead weight the wobble would be far smaller than we observe it to be," said Matthew Tiscareno, a Cassini participating scientist at the SETI Institute, Mountain View, California, and a co-author of the paper. "This proves that there must be a global layer of liquid separating the surface from the core," he said.

The mechanisms that might have prevented Enceladus' ocean from freezing remain a mystery. Thomas and his colleagues suggest a few ideas for future study that might help resolve the question, including the surprising possibility that tidal forces due to Saturn's gravity could be generating much more heat within Enceladus than previously thought.

"This is a major step beyond what we understood about this moon before, and it demonstrates the kind of deep-dive discoveries we can make with long-lived orbiter missions to other planets," said co-author Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team lead at Space Science Institute (SSI), Boulder, Colorado, and visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. "Cassini has been exemplary in this regard."

The unfolding story of Enceladus has been one of the great triumphs of Cassini's long mission at Saturn. Scientists first detected signs of the moon's icy plume in early 2005, and followed up with a series of discoveries about the material gushing from warm fractures near its south pole. They announced strong evidence for a regional sea in 2014, and more recently, in 2015, they shared results that suggest hydrothermal activity is taking place on the ocean floor.

Cassini is scheduled to make a close flyby of Enceladus on Oct. 28, in the mission's deepest-ever dive through the moon's active plume of icy material. The spacecraft will pass a mere 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon's surface.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. The Cassini imaging operations center is based at Space Science Institute.
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