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Feature

The Whole Enceladus

A new place to search for life in the outer solar system

By
9:43am, May 2, 2006

Step aside, Europa. Make way, Titan. Saturn's small moon Enceladus is becoming one of the hottest places to look for signs of life in the chilly outer solar system. NASA's Cassini spacecraft recently discovered that a giant plume of water vapor, dust, and small ice crystals shoots out from a crack-lined region in the southern hemisphere of this 500-kilometer-wide moon. Observations of the plume and surrounding material on the moon's surface suggest that Enceladus harbors the basic ingredients necessary for life as we know it.

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