Infrared map of Enceladus shows “tiger stripes” and hints of recent resurfacing

NASA’s Cassini probe orbited Saturn for 13 years, studying the planet’s atmosphere, its spectacular ring system and its many moons. Combining data from Cassini’s Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, or VIMS, and the probe’s Imaging Science Subsystem, researchers have put together a new global spectral map of Enceladus, a moon with icy jets spewing into space from a sub-surface ocean. The jets originate in the south polar regions from parallel gashes dubbed “tiger stripes.” The spectral maps show the tiger stripes in detail, along with infrared signs of recent resurfacing in the northern hemisphere. It’s not clear if the resurfacing is from jets like those seen in the southern hemisphere or the result of a more gradual movement of ice seeping up from the hidden ocean through cracks in the crust. Click on the image below for an animated gif showing a 3D version of the map.

The most detailed infrared views of Saturn’s moon Enceladus ever produced, courtesy of data captured by NASA’s Cassini probe. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/LPG/CNRS/University of Nantes/Space Science Institute