View Full Version : What Else Could Be Spewing Out of Enceladus?

2006-Dec-18, 08:54 PM
One of the biggest space news stories of 2006 was the Cassini's discovery that water ice was spraying out the bottom of Saturn's moon Enceladus. It could be that the tiny moon is under such gravitational flexing from Saturn that it refuses to freeze solid. ...

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/12/18/what-else-could-be-spewing-out-of-enceladus/)

2006-Dec-19, 03:49 PM
The problem with any of the gravitionally induced causes for the water is that all prior theories did not result in sufficient heating. The theories would have made it much more likely that Mimas, being closer to Saturn and larger, would be more likely to have internal heating...akin to Io's situation at Jupiter; yet there seems to be no such activity. The clathrate idea still relies on gravitational flexing. A much simpler explantion, which should receive consideration based on the know electromagnetic environment at Saturn, is an elecrical circuit connection between Enceladus and Saturn and sputtering of the surface of Enceladus. A careful examination of a movie of the plumes suggests rapid movement of the plumes, consistent with this idea.

2006-Dec-19, 03:59 PM
Hi billd, welcome to the BAUT forum.

Why wouldn't Mimas have an even greater current (producing even greater effects) in your model?

John Mendenhall
2006-Dec-19, 04:11 PM
Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen? Sounds like a recipe for life, not the other way around.

2006-Dec-19, 07:37 PM
Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen? Sounds like a recipe for life, not the other way around.

Yes!! Especially some swamp-like plant life.

2006-Dec-19, 10:51 PM
antoniseb poses a great question about Mimas. I know not except that each body has it's own electric charge in relation to Saturn and Mimas may have 'quenched' itself(became neutral with Saturn) in the past and now it's Enceladus' turn!
Larry White

2006-Dec-20, 02:49 AM
Look larryduane100, you are clearly presenting EU ideas in a mainstream section. This is not allowed. The next time you post an ATM idea in a mainstream section you'll be suspended.

2006-Dec-20, 11:36 AM
Wow :silenced:


This was big huge news, because it means there’s probably liquid water there on the surface of Enceladus, and wherever we find liquid water on Earth, we find life - no matter how cold, hot, radioactive, acidic, or deep underground.

No really really big huge news!

2006-Dec-20, 08:16 PM
I see the moderator's note to larryduane100 and I would be guilty of same if I continue too far in a broader discussion. I wonder though, how one measures mainstream, and with what key words one moves from mainstream to something else. When I read releases from the planetary science community, it seems they are dancing around the relationship of electric currents and magnetic fields with discussions of MHD and hot gas. It's mainstream to talk about the Io flux tube (an acknowledged electric current, and quite large), but not something analogous at Enceladus? I jumped into this forum as it popped up in a search, so I did not see the "non-mainstream" forum. Let us remember that things like plate tectonics and atomic particles were quite out of the mainstream for most of the history of their associated disciplines.

So to take a risk, and answer the moderator's question, we are only seeing Enceladus at a short slice in time, and the water ejection phenomenon may be transient or in some way periodic, and thus at some other time we could see similar behavior at Mimas. Since I would attribute the tiger stripes on Enceladus to the electrical action, and there being no outright similar formation on Mimas, it may be that Mimas does not experience this kind of activity or it could manifest its physical trace on the world as a different formation, and this dependency would relate to the (variable) electric environment and field strength of Saturn and Mimas' constituency as relates to its electrical conductivity.

2006-Dec-20, 09:23 PM
I see the moderator's note to larryduane100 and I would be guilty of same if I continue too far in a broader discussion.

I took note of your original post as potentially being from a careful EU supporter, but as a new member, you'd not have been squashed for your first post being misplaced, just reminded. We try to keep the non ATM sections of the forum something where people will see mainstream discussions, and reserve the more out-of-the-mainstream discussions where a more formal debate style can take place.

Concerning plate tectonics, Heliocentrism, atomic model of matter, and other things that society was slow to accept: yes, they were good ideas that were accepted slowly and grudgingly, and were mixed in with a lot of junky ideas. Let's use the ATM section to help identify which ATM ideas are not junk.

Concerning the question of what is mainstream, there is no question that there is a magnetic field around Saturn, and you are right that the behavior of Enceladus might be short term (years, millenia, only a few million years), we don't know. It is doubtful that there is a Velikovsky-style electrical system happening around Saturn, and we do not want debate about that happening here, but rather in the ATM section.

If you can show that there might be enough transfer of electrical energy to result in the melting and spewing of material from Enceladus, that is fine here. Give numbers, observations, and measurements. Such things are not outside the mainstream. If you, in this section, try to show that this proves Venus was ejected from Saturn in human history, you'll be treated as a spammer or troll.

2006-Dec-20, 10:11 PM
Thank you, antoniseb. I think to validate the idea of a current connection between Saturn and a moon, we would need an in situ measurement from near the suspected current impingment, which would be near the pole in question. This would entail the use of the Cassini Radio & Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument, which can measure an electron flux density i.e. electron current. A while ago I perused the flight manifest and I do not recall seeing any more targeted encounters with Enceladus; the mission planning had emphasized Titan for both science and trajectory assist. Perhaps such a close look can work into an extended mission after the primary mission is achieved, certainly Enceladus bears closer inspection! My guess is that such measurment is problematic from a spacecraft survival perspective due to the matter flux coming off the moon and the possibility of a large electric current. Another, less direct validation would be careful analysis of the polar region using higher resolution photography from a close flyby, to see what the ejection source looks like. If I were promoting EU I would say indirect evidence is in odd crater and "crack" morphologies and perhaps in the anomalous blanket of (presumably) ice boulders seen is one hi-res image, which don't seem to conform to impact crater ejecta expectations. Another tell-tale would be x-ray/uv emission from the water/ice ejection source. Cassini has a UV imaging spectrograph but does not have an x-ray instrument. Either of these high energy surface signatures would, I think, be hard to explain by a geologic or chemical process.