Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

NASA maps out geysers, finds evidence of liquid water on surface of Saturn moon

This mosaic of Saturn's moon Mimas was created from images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in February 2010. A new study indicates the moon may contain a liquid water ocean. Click through to see more Cassini images of Saturn and its moons. This mosaic of Saturn's moon Mimas was created from images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in February 2010. A new study indicates the moon may contain a liquid water ocean. Click through to see more Cassini images of Saturn and its moons.
HIDE CAPTION
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
Saturn and its moons
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NASA scientists identify 101 geysers on Enceladus
  • An analysis suggests liquid water could be on the moon's surface

(CNN) -- On the surface of one of Saturn's icy moons, scientists have discovered the possible existence of a very important, life-sustaining element: liquid water.

NASA scientists announced Monday the identification of 101 distinct geysers erupting on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Their analysis suggests that water, a crucial component for life beyond our planet, can reach the Saturnian moon's surface.

Ocean buried under Saturn moon
NASA releases impressive Saturn images

First sighted in 2005, the geysers erupt from four "tiger stripe" fractures along the moon's south polar terrain and spew tiny ice particles and water vapor, NASA said in news release.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Cassini's Saturn orbit insertion, NASA has listed the top 10 things we wouldn't know if the spaceship hadn't traveled to the ringed planet. Also: Cassini images of Saturn and its moons. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Cassini's Saturn orbit insertion, NASA has listed the top 10 things we wouldn't know if the spaceship hadn't traveled to the ringed planet. Also: Cassini images of Saturn and its moons.
Cassini's top 10 discoveries about Saturn
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
Photos: Cassini\'s Saturn discoveries Photos: Cassini's Saturn discoveries

After seven years of collecting mission data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists found the geysers to be powered by small hot spots -- the result of water vapor condensing and venting from subsurface seawater; thus, answering questions about the geysers' origins.

Researchers had previously thought the ice particles and water vapor came from either frictional heat or from water vapor below the surface.

"Once we had these results in hand, we knew right away heat was not causing the geysers, but vice versa," said NASA adviser Carolyn Porco, who led the Cassini imaging team.

"It also told us the geysers are not a near-surface phenomenon, but have much deeper roots."

More space content: Supermoon linked to supercreativity? We think so

CNN's Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Space
updated 12:10 PM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
An uncrewed test flight will send Orion 3,600 miles above Earth, farther into space than any craft designed for astronauts has gone since the last Apollo moon mission more than 40 years ago.
updated 9:02 AM EST, Mon December 1, 2014
The University of Colorado Boulder has announced a discovery 7,200 miles above Earth of a protective shield similar to the force fields you might see in "Star Trek."
updated 7:58 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The International Space Station's 3-D printer will create objects that can be used by those living in the station.
updated 9:22 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
Shrimp crawling around rock chimneys spewing hot water deep in the Caribbean Sea may hold clues to the kinds of life that can thrive in extreme environments on other planets, NASA says.
updated 4:19 PM EST, Sat November 15, 2014
It's hard to top the tricky, first-ever landing on a comet but we'll try. Here are 11 other space missions to know about.
updated 6:21 PM EST, Fri November 7, 2014
Add another entry to the growing list of crazy footage captured by GoPro cameras.
updated 1:00 PM EDT, Sat November 1, 2014
It is in our DNA to explore the unknown. But pushing boundaries and exploring space is far from easy.
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
If there's one thing we've learned about the CNN iReport community, it's that you all love to capture celestial events.
updated 8:25 PM EDT, Sun October 12, 2014
Want to ride an elevator into space? A breakthrough in nanotechnology could mean we will be riding into space on a cable made of diamonds.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
Astronauts lie motionless in a row of compartments with medical monitoring cables connected to their bodies, as their space ship cuts through the silent blackness.
updated 3:29 PM EDT, Sat September 20, 2014
This image from the Hubble Space Telescope indicates that a huge ring of dark matter likely exists surrounding the center of CL0024+17 that has no normal matter counterpart.
Scientists are closer to seeing a vast, invisible universe as a spectrometer in Earth orbit picks up possible clues of dark matter.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
The Soviets sent stray dogs up to conquer space. This is what happened next
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Scientists believe that a hot gas bubble was formed by multiple supernovas.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robonaut is the next generation dexterous robot
Life aboard the International Space Station.
updated 9:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
NASA's New Horizons mission hurtles toward Pluto in historic 3 billion mile expedition.
updated 11:56 PM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
Scientists looking for signs of life in the universe -- as well as another planet like our own -- are a lot closer to their goal than people realize.
updated 11:51 AM EDT, Sun June 29, 2014
If you think you saw a flying saucer over Hawaii, you might not be crazy -- except what you saw didn't come from outer space, though that may be its ultimate destination.
updated 10:21 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
When I first poked my head inside Virgin Galactic's newest spaceship, I felt a little like I was getting a front-row seat to space history.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue February 25, 2014
From a sheep ranch in Western Australia comes the oldest slice of Earth we know.
ADVERTISEMENT