Gravity measurements by NASA's Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network suggest that Saturn's moon Enceladus, which has jets of water vapor and ice gushing from its south pole, also harbors a large interior ocean beneath an ice shell.
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Ocean Inside Saturn's Moon Enceladus

This diagram illustrates the possible interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus based on a gravity investigation by NASA's Cassini spacecraft and NASA's Deep Space Network, reported in April 2014. The gravity measurements suggest an ice outer shell and a low density, rocky core with a regional water ocean sandwiched in between at high southern latitudes.

Views from Cassini's imaging science subsystem were used to depict the surface geology of Enceladus and the plume of water jets gushing from fractures near the moon's south pole.

Enceladus is 313 miles (504 kilometers) in diameter.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini.

Image details

ID#:
PIA18071

Date added:
2014-04-03

Target:
Enceladus

Mission:
Cassini-Huygens, Deep Space Network (DSN)

Spacecraft:
Cassini Orbiter

Instruments:
Imaging Science Subsystem

Rating:



Views:
3,987

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA18071.tif (74.94 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA18071.jpg (1.5 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech