Saturn’s moon Enceladus is spewing out some impressive geysers of water ice. The NASA/ESA Italian space agency team that flies the Cassini spacecraft just released this composite image captured in November showing about 30 of the jets near the south pole of that moon. The big question for those who are interested in life beyond our planet – could their be liquid water reservoirs beneath the surface? As you know – wherever water is found in liquid form on this planet – you will find living things. So…Let me be the first to tell any prospective Enceladians – we come in peace.
Another ESA satellite is focused on water as well – just a little closer to home…These are the first calibration images from the the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity – or (SMOS) mission. – Launched in November this satellite is designed to help scientists better understand the water cycle on earth – and that will help them improve weather and climate models.
Kids love space and dinosaurs – so I have always believed if we could just put a dinosaur into space – we would have a nation of space loving high achievers in math and science…well voila…astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found some galaxies that are tantamount to seeing a dinosaur wander into your backyard. It’s a group of small galaxies that are still in the early stages of formation – but they are much closer to us – only 166 million light years – and thus much younger than galaxies at a similar stage that scientists have seen before. For some reason these small galaxies waited 10 billion years to get together. Now that’s a long courtship…see this story in video form here.
Watch Enceladus and SMOS stories on “This Week in Space” version 8 here: