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Enceladus polar jets, Cassini image

Enceladus polar jets, Cassini image

C012/2508

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Credit

NASA / JPL / SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL / SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Enceladus polar jets, Cassini image. Enceladus is one of the smaller moons of Saturn, with a diameter of around 505 kilometres. This view of sunlight on a limb over its southern polar region shows plumes of water, hydrocarbons and other chemicals jetting outwards from its surface. This surface is thought to be water ice over liquid water, a possible location for life in the Solar System outside Earth. The surface fissures (sulci, called 'tiger stripes') are caused by geologic activity and tidal heating. This image was obtained on 21 November 2009, by the narrow-angle camera on the Cassini spacecraft that is in orbit around Saturn.

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