Discovery of a dynamic atmosphere at one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus
Presenter: Michele Dougherty
Published: February 2013
Age: 14-19 and upwards
Views: 1422 views
Tags: enceladus atmosphere moon saturn
Source/institution: Royal Society
In recent years, Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth largest moon, has become a major attraction for scientists, with many believing it offers the best hope we have of discovering other life in our solar system. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn since July 2004. After passing close by to Enceladus, the spacecraft detected plumes of water vapour emanating from cracks around the south pole of the moon, which have more recently been discovered to contain complex organic compounds, necessary ingredients for the existence of life. Michele Dougherty, Principal Investigator for the magnetic field instrument onboard the Cassini mission, discussed these discoveries and how they have revolutionised our perspective of the role of planetary moons in the solar system. Professor Michele Dougherty FRS is Professor of Space Physics at Imperial College London.