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Fraser
2005-Aug-31, 06:00 PM
SUMMARY: NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered that the long cracks discovered on the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus are actually quite young, between 10 and 1,000 years old. These findings support a previous discovery that Enceladus has a very active geology, and its surface features have been changing quite recently. These cracks act like vents, allowing ice and vapour to spew out. The fact that Enceladus is so active came as a surprise to scientists, as it's hard for an object this small to hold onto its heat.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/cassini_finds_young_tiger_stripes.html)

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Greg
2005-Aug-31, 06:04 PM
This turns out to be quite a fascinating object. An object this small is not likely to be generating active volcanism from radioactive decay. So it is pretty clear to me that tidal heating is responsible for generating the heat necessary to support this very active volcanism. if so, it will certainly rewrite the lower limit of size for objects capable of generating this kind of volcanism.

antoniseb
2005-Aug-31, 06:07 PM
Enceladus is pretty small, and it is interesting that it is so active. It may be twenty years or more before we really understand what's going on with this object. The next big Saturn probe should come with a large collection of nano-landers so that seismic studies can be done on several of these active moons, and we can see the structure inside them.

Eric Vaxxine
2005-Sep-01, 12:55 PM
Fearing contamination by landing, maybe we could simply deploy satellites to monitor places like Enceladus?