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.
A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts. Researchers believe that Dione’s crust floats on an ocean several tens of kilometres deep located 100 kilometres below the surface.