Further results from the Cassini spacecraft’s July flyby of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, reveal more detail about the features and processes going on. Speaking at a press conference at Imperial College, London this morning (30th August) the Cassini scientists spoke about the intriguing south pole area which has a surprising hotspot and “tiger stripe” features on the surface.
Following the two distance flybys of Enceladus in February and March this year results from the Magnetometer instrument showed a flowing of the magnetic and plasma field from Saturn towards and then around Enceladus. Effectively Enceladus was acting as an obstacle to the flow – indicating the presence of an atmosphere. In addition there was an indication of an internal signature.
Professor Michele Dougherty from Imperial College is the lead scientist for the Magnetometer instrument. She takes up the story.
Dr. Torrence Johnson from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a member of the ISS team. He said, “Enceladus has certainly thrown up more surprises than anticipated – which is great for planetary science. We are piecing together the results from the various instrument teams to build up more of a complete picture of what is happening on Enceladus. With more data analysis and further flybys planned we are beginning to understand more about this icy satellite.”
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