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Friday 7 July 2017

The Universe in 101 words: Why should we return to Enceladus?

Above: The dwarf planet Ceres, which is suspected of having once held an underground ocean. Um. It doesn't really turn back and forth in that way
Our solar system is, well, awash with ocean worlds. And, thanks to the Cassini mission, we've gotten to know one really well: Enceladus, 500km wide moon of Saturn.

So what's it like?

Dark - the ocean's covered in 20Km of ice - but maybe not totally black: There's volcanic activity on the ocean floor, like the white smoker vents of earth, so there'd be the dim  glow of volcanism. More importantly the salty, alkaline, water contains organic chemicals and hydrogen - food for possible micro-life.

Cassini's mission is nearly over - but it's now hard to imagine us not returning to Enceladus....

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