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ESA Science & Technology

Enceladus' south pole is warm under the frost

13 Mar 2017, 13:44 UTC
Enceladus' south pole is warm under the frost NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Over the past decade, the international Cassini mission has revealed intense activity at the southern pole of Saturn's icy moon, Enceladus, with warm fractures venting water-rich jets that hint at an underground sea. A new study, based on microwave observations of this region, shows that the moon is warmer than expected just a few metres below its icy surface. This suggests that heat is produced over a broad area in this polar region and transported under the crust, and that Enceladus' reservoir of liquid water might be lurking only a few kilometres beneath.

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