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Enceladus: Water World Found On Saturn's Moon

First Posted: Dec 01, 2015 02:34 PM EST

Cassini scientists from NASA have discovered a "global ocean of liquid water" on one of Saturn's moons, according to a news releaseThe researchers made the discovery on Enceladus, which is the sixth largest moon of Saturn. Enceladus and Saturn's rings are both made of water ice, however they have distinctive characteristics.

The rings are quite tiny, so they are unable to keep internal heat. Since they have no alternatives to kept warm, they are frozen and geologically dead. However, Enceladus is exposed to varying amounts of internal heating, which is responsible for its south polar water jets, which are visible over the dark, southern limb of the moon.

The discovery of the sub-surface ocean on Enceladus could enable scientists to carry out further research on the presence of Enceladus' water. This new discovery could enable scientists to examine the functions of water and how it relates to the development of life in space.

Enceladus spreads 313 miles (504 kilometers) across. The researchers made the discovery using the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera. The image was captured at a distance of 630,000 miles (1 million kilometers) away from Enceladus.

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