Saturn moon’s geysers draw water from subsurface sea | Science News

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Saturn moon’s geysers draw water from subsurface sea

Study suggests space probes can directly sample an extraterrestrial ocean

5:02pm, August 4, 2014

SEA SPRAY  Water from a subsurface sea on Enceladus blasts through cracks in the moon’s icy shell, in a picture taken by the Cassini spacecraft. 

The seas of Saturn’s moon Enceladus are blasting into space.

Saltwater-spewing geysers on Enceladus’ icy surface — 101 of them — appear to connect to the moon’s warm subsurface ocean, scientists report July 28 in two new studies in the Astronomical Journal. The results suggest that these geysers offer an unprecedented chance to collect samples of a potentially habitable reservoir of liquid water away from Earth.

Over the last decade, Enceladus has become a tantalizing spot for finding extraterrestrial life because of discoveries of a deep underground ocean (SN: 5/3/14, p. 11) and ice erupting from the moon’s south pole (SN: 8/27/05, p. 141

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