Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/4/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Enceladus overtakes Mars with discovery of ocean.

Astronomers believe they have found proof that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus hosts a deep saltwater ocean. Scientists say that of such an ocean exists, it may be the most likely place in the solar system, rather than on Mars, to find life elsewhere besides Earth.

Jets of water, rich in organic molecules spew over the icy surface of Enceladus.

Jets of water, rich in organic molecules spew over the icy surface of Enceladus.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/4/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Enceladus, Saturn, life, moon, ocean, water


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomers studying gravitational measurements of Enceladus say they have found evidence that a deep saltwater ocean may exist under the thick icy surface of Saturn's pearl-white moon.

The measurements were made with the Cassini space probe which has been looping through the Saturn system since 2004. The measurements suggest that a 10km-deep ocean of water exists deep under the ice on Enceladus.

St. Dominic, the patron saint of astronomers.

Gravitational measurements allow scientists to map the interior of planets and moons because different materials of varying densities have an influence on gravity. As the probe swept past the moon on several passes, scientists noticed that it was being slowed or sped up at different times. Measuring this subtle shift in radio waves allowed them to map the interior of the moon.

Scientists also know that water exists on Enceladus because in 2005 they captured jets of water vapor spewing from the moon's south pole.

The jets of water and the gravitational mapping results suggests that an ocean of water may exist beneath the ice, heated by underwater volcanism. The gravitational squeeze exerted on Enceladus as it orbits Saturn keeps the interior of the moon hot which means temperatures beneath the ice are warm enough to allow liquid water to exist.

Enceladus joins Europa, the icy moon of Jupiter as another body with liquid water, yet Enceladus has one distinctive feature that Europa lacks, that is the water on Enceladus is rich with organic molecules.

Wherever water exists, there too could be life. Water in the essential medium, so far as biologists know, where life can evolve. Scientists are keen to answer the question of how common - or rare life is in the universe. It is very likely that the ocean on Enceladus is sterile. Yet being rich in organic molecules, the kind thought to be present before life was created on Earth, makes Enceladus the best possible candidate for life within the solar system, aside from Earth itself.

The next step will be to plan a mission to the icy moon. Such planning could easily take a decade or more. Still, the recent discovery moves Enceladus to the front of the pack for priority simply because scientists are very anxious to know.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Technology

Astronomers discover a new 'Super Earth' proving the Kepler spacecraft still has the right stuff despite malfunction Watch

Image of Kepler has discovered hundreds of new planets, proving that planets are a normal part of stellar formation.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Kepler planet hunting probe has detected another Earth-like planet 180 light-years from the Sun. The planet is massive and hot and uninhabitable, but it demonstrates once again that scientists have the ability to detect these new worlds with increasing accuracy. ... continue reading


Anywhere in the world in four hours or less: Space plane receives approval from European Space Agency Watch

Image of Reaction Engines proclaim that the technology is the biggest step in air travel since the jet engine was invented.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

A futuristic plane that could fly anyone anywhere in the world in four hours or less, as well as carry spaceships out of the atmosphere without using rockets, has come closer to reality. The European Space Agency has given approval to the Skylon plane this ... continue reading


BURP! There! Proof of life existing on the planet Mars Watch

Image of If the gas were coming from living microbes on Mars, the finding would mark one of the biggest discoveries in history.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Belches...and worse, could have just proven the evidence of life on Mars. NASA's Curiosity Rover has detected mysterious spikes of methane. These rude outbursts can't be explained away by geology or other theories. The rover has been on Mars since 2012. ... continue reading


Are you a receptionist, security guard or retail clerk? You could soon be replaced by a ROBOT Watch

Image of Royal Caribbean cruise lines have installed new bionic bars with machine robots that fix passengers their drinks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Automation works well if it spares humans from dangerous and monotonous tasks. While many have lost their line of work in assembly lines to nimble-fingered machines, the next wave of robotic replacement may soon well take the place of jobs requiring a more ... continue reading


Catch me if you can: A new device aims to catch wandering Alzheimer's patients and bring relief to caregivers Watch

Image of Alzheimer's disease affects more than five million people in the United States.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Approximately five million people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer's. 65 percent of those patients wander. They get up in the middle of the night and take off. Many times these patients get lost or injured. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kenneth ... continue reading


Americans have a new champion for privacy -- Microsoft. Software giant squares off with Feds over private customer data held overseas Watch

Image of Brad Smith is Microsoft's general counsel.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans concerned about their privacy have a new champion, and he comes from an unlikely stable - the ranks of Microsoft. Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, is preparing to fight against the U.S. government as they demand Microsoft hand over private, encrypted ... continue reading


Scientists believe they've found first physical evidence of mysterious 'Dark Matter' Watch

Image of After the spectrum from the Perseus cluster and Andromeda were analyzed, scientists saw spikes where nothing should exist.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Scientists came up with the concept of "Dark Matter," an elusive physical property more than 70 years ago. After years of searching, scientists have now uncovered evidence that Dark Matter may in fact exist - in an area where it should theoretically exist. LOS ... continue reading


The death of political ads on TV approaches as more people turn to the internet for media Watch

Image of The political TV ad is dying as more people move online for their media.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're planning to go into politics, don't ignore the internet and what an incredibly powerful tool it is. The internet is not only essential, it is a crucial multiplier of force, allowing a candidate to maximize limited financial resources. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Water DID NOT come to Earth from comets, Rosetta probe concludes Watch

Image of The heretofore unprecedented close-up look at a comet is helping scientists answer the fundamental question of whether a bombardment of these primitive bodies brought water to Earth billions of years ago.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Europe's Rosetta mission, which made history by landing on Comet 67P last month, has come up with a controversial finding that is currently being debated by scientists. According to the Rosetta's latest findings, water did not come to the Earth from comets. LOS ... continue reading


Mars rover uncovers astonishing evidence of water, life on Mars Watch

Image of The Curiosity rover has since found evidence of standing water, along with energy and the key elements with the right atomic charges to prove long-term of evidence of water on Mars.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

The Curiosity rover has since found evidence of standing water, along with energy and the key elements with the right atomic charges to prove long-term of evidence of water on Mars. Scientists have reached the conclusion that at least some of the planet must ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
1 Once the king had settled into his palace and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 16:25-27
25 And now to him who can make you strong in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 21st, 2014 Image

St. Peter Canisius
December 21: In 1565, the Vatican was looking for a secret agent. It was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter