How the moon got its stripes

Astronomy & Space A new study has revealed the origins of tiger stripes and a subsurface ocean on Enceladus- one of Saturn’s many moons.

Astronomy & Space

A new study has revealed the origins of tiger stripes and a subsurface ocean on Enceladus- one of Saturn’s many moons.

These geological features are believed to be the result of the moon’s unusual chemical composition and not a hot core, shedding light on the evolution of planets and guiding future space exploration.

Part of the intrigue with Enceladus is that it was once presumed to be a lifeless, frozen ice ball until a water vapour plume was seen erupting from its surface in 2006.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft recently revealed Enceladus as a dynamic place, recording geological features such as geysers emerging from the ‘tiger stripes’ which are thought to be cracks caused by tectonic activity on the south pole of the moon’s surface.

The moon is also one of the brightest objects in our solar system because the ice covering its surface reflects almost 100 percent of the sunlight that strikes it.

One of Saturn’s 53 moons (so far identified) Enceladus reflects so much of the sun’s energy that its surface temperature is about -201° C (-330° F).

University of Melbourne

 

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