There's little doubt now that the Saturn moon Enceladus hides a vast, liquid ocean beneath its icy surface. Massive plumes of water vapor discovered by Cassini in 2005 sparked speculation of sub-surface liquid water within the tiny moon. Later, fly-bys found that the massive geysers - whose jet steams supply the material for …
Blinded by Science
I guess scientists have to speak sciency, but don't we call non-liquid water either ice or steam? Ergo, water is H2O in its liquid form and "liquid water" is tautology . Maybe they're now looking for liquid ice and liquid steam.
Oh, and before you ask: Chemistry 'O' Level Grade U and CSE Grade 2 25 years ago so yes, I am qualified to make such high-brow observations.
'Water' is the English name of the molecule H2O. Its phases are water ice, liquid water and water vapour. Since water can be found in all three phases in space, the clarification is needed.
'Ice' is also incorrect because some of the outer planets and their satellites are made of water ice with greater or lesser amounts of ammonia ice, methane ice... and don't get me started on the clathrates...
But nay a drop to drink...
I'd want to put it through a filter first though before using it for my morning tea, or lunchtime Pot Noodle.
The Tea pre-filtering I'd understand.. but anything alive or toxic would surely be killed or superseded by the aforementioned noodlage, no?
It blows my mind how advanced we have got with this, imagine taking these images back in time to show Cassini, Galileo, etc! Where can I get 3D flybys? Google Enceladus anyone?
Just in time for the UK to quit
Great stuff, but of course this all comes out just at the time the UK is pulling out of Cassini ( see eg. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/02/cassini.shtml). Of course the US knows when it's on to a good thing and has extended the mission until 2017. All the extra science in the years to come will go elsewhere, in spite of the fact that the UK has put a lot of effort into the project and made some fundamentally important contributions.
Nice one Gordon and Peter.
Stop, because that's what's happening to the UK contribution to Cassini.
Water shortage sorted!
No more droughts. Just send a spaceship to Enceladus and get it to tow back a asteroid sized chunk of ice back. Just the small matter of landing it safely on Earth! :-)
Just let it "burn" up on reentry, it will end up in the water table just as quick.
Anyone know how many tonnes of extra water will be required to put Tuvalu under a foot of water?
re: small matter of landing
Simple, just point it at somewhere with a water shortage, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia would do I guess. Watch the desert bloom as it rains!!
Might fix 1 or 2 other small problems if it was big enough?
thought that sounded familiar
Damn good book if you haven't read it! :)
'Anyone know how many tonnes of extra water will be required to put Tuvalu under a foot of water?'
Depends if you're aiming it at Tuvulu or not.
Christ, we've only just found water on the damn thing and already you guys are talking about raping its resources. Granted, we might not find the Na'vi skulking around Enceladus' subsurface seas but at what point is interference with a planet's biosphere justified? Bear in mind that intelligence and sentience may occur in many forms besides the ones we recognise. Ideally any law of non-interference should extend to any planet with indigenous life, meaning that if we want to colonise and exploit other worlds we need to terraform ones that are confirmed lifeless. But that won't happen, of course.
Like 1984, Avatar is a warning about the nastier aspects of human nature, and like 1984, one that will be either ignored completely or used as an instruction manual when the time comes!
To hell with Saturn...
All this stuff with Saturn is great, but I've heard Uranus is where the real action is...
...I heard Uranus was off limits.
Paris: Need I explain....
5bn yrs and red giant
Would anybody be able to answer the following question.
Once the sun goes Red Giant, would that make Enceladus within it's goldilocks zone??
If I recall correctly
When our Sun is in its Red Giant phase, it will actually cool down because the energy will be emitted across a much larger cross-section (or something like that).
I'm not sure where that will put the Goldilocks zone, but I'm fairly sure that the outer planets and their moons will not get much more energy than they are getting now.
when can we send a robot to have a swim?
We've been waiting for proof of aliens for ever, it's about time they turned up.
If they turn out to be sea monsters then that'll do.
Little green men
Not a wise move to bring some water back from outer space, I reckon. Might be dangerous alien organisms in it that might do us mere earthlings untold damage! Plague and pestilence might rip the planet asunder.