Scientists: Liquid water erupting on Saturn moon

By | March 9, 2006

Scientists Liquid water erupting on Saturn moon

Scientists think liquid water is spewing out of these fractures on the southern pole of Enceladus.

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — The Cassini spacecraft has found evidence of liquid water spewing from geysers on one of Saturn’s icy moons, raising the tantalizing possibility that the celestial object harbors life.

The surprising discovery excited some scientists, who say the Saturn moon, Enceladus, should be added to the short list of places within the solar system most likely to have extraterrestrial life.

Recent high-resolution images snapped by the orbiting Cassini confirmed the eruption of icy jets and giant water vapor plumes from geysers resembling frozen Old Faithfuls at Enceladus’ south pole. (Watch NASA’s Dr. Torrence Johnson talk about the importance of finding liquid water on Enceladus — 1:22)

“We have the smoking gun” that proves the existence of water, said Carolyn Porco, a Cassini imaging scientist from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

If Enceladus does harbor life, it probably consists of microbes or other primitive organisms capable of living in extreme conditions, scientists say.

The findings were published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. – CNN

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