Highlight From Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Courtesy of Cassini Spacecraft

By  //  December 30, 2017

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Cassini spacecraft ended mission on Sept. 15, 2017

ABOVE VIDEO: In April, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft discovered hydrogen in the plume of gas and icy particles spraying from Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The discovery means the small, icy moon — which has a global ocean under its surface — has a source of chemical energy that could be useful for microbes, if any exist there

(NASA) — Saturn’s moon Enceladus drifts before the rings, which glow brightly in the sunlight.

Beneath its icy exterior shell, Enceladus hides a global ocean of liquid water. Just visible at the moon’s south pole (at bottom here) is the plume of water ice particles and other material that constantly spews from that ocean via fractures in the ice.

The bright speck to the right of Enceladus is a distant star.

This image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 6, 2011, at a distance of approximately 90,000 miles (145,000 kilometers) from Enceladus.

The Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on Sept. 15, 2017.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (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.

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, Colorado.

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