Scientists on Wednesday said they have an explanation how one of Saturn’s moons can spew out a giant plume of water vapor, adding to evidence a source of life — water — lies beneath the moon’s frozen surface.
Using a computer model, German researchers showed the temperature at the bottom of surface cracks on Enceladus has to be about 0 degrees Celsius, the so-called triple point of water where vapor, ice and liquid water all can coexist.
“This makes this moon very interesting for further study because there is a connection between liquid water and life,” Sascha Kempf, a physicist at thein , said in a telephone interview.
“This is the kind of thing planetary scientists hope for.”
Mars, Europa and now Enceladus, three possible sources of water and our form of carbon based life. Eventually humans will land probes on the outer ice-bound moons and sink mini-subs through the ice to see if there’s critters swimming around. I’d like to be around to witness it.
The United States is the only nation to fly its flag on the moon — a symbol of the country’s dominance of space exploration.
Even four decades after it won the race to the moon, the United States shares the ability to blast humans into orbit with only two countries: Russia and China. But more and more nations are looking to join that elite club, and some even hope to reach the moon.
The European Space Agency is investigating spaceships to carry astronauts. China is laying the groundwork for a moon shot. Even India plans to send its own astronauts into space.
“We are not the only nation that wants to be in space,” NASA chief Michael Griffin said last month. “We’re going to have to work hard if we want to maintain our position in the world.”
“We have competitors where we had none before,” says space-policy expert John Logsdon of George Washington University.
Somehow, I don’t believe the American public gives a rat’s ass about space and our exploration of it. We’d let other nations go ahead and take the risks. Americans would just as soon play space war in the virtual reality world and blow shit up.
We’re pretty good at blowing shit up in the real world too.
PHOTO GALLERY: This week in space . Pretty good snapshots of Saturn and Mars here, check it out!