NASA shares stunning snapshot of Saturn's Moon Enceladus | Tech News

NASA shares stunning snapshot of Saturn's Moon Enceladus

Enceladus was captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during its close flyby. Here’s what you need to know.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jan 17 2023, 17:34 IST
In Pics: NASA set to return to the Moon with the Artemis 1 Mission
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1/5 According to NASA, Artemis I will be the first uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft. The Orion capsule will carry various objects like Snoopy dog toy which will fly as a zero-gravity indicator in the capsule. A new version of Alexa called Callisto created by Lockheed Martin, Amazon, and Cisco will also be aboard the spacecraft. (REUTERS)
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2/5 The Artemis Programme is NASA’s first attempt to send a manned mission to the Moon since the Apollo missions in 1972. Earlier this month, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, “To all of us that gaze up at the Moon, dreaming of the day humankind returns to the lunar surface, folks, we're here. We are going back.” (REUTERS)
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3/5 The rocket and the Orion spacecraft have already been rolled out onto the launchpad on August 16. Although the rollout was scheduled to happen today on August 18, NASA moved up the plans and rolled out the Orion spacecraft on top of NASA’s brand-new Space Launcher System. (REUTERS)
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4/5 When NASA launches the Artemis 1 mission using the Space Launcher System on August 29, the Orion spacecraft, although unmanned, will carry 3 manikins called Zohar, Helga and Campos to space as human stand-ins for various tests and studies. They will be retrofitted with a vast number of sensors to conduct tests regarding the spaceflight. (NASA)
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5/5 ason Hutt, NASA lead for Orion Crew Systems Integration said, “It’s critical for us to get data from the Artemis I manikin to ensure all of the newly designed systems, coupled with an energy dampening system that the seats are mounted on, integrate together and provide the protection crew members will need in preparation for our first crewed mission on Artemis II.” (NASA)
Enceladus
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Saturn’s Moon Enceladus, covered in ice, as captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (NASA)

NASA has shared a stunning snapshot of one of Saturn's Moons called Enceladus. Considered the most reflective celestial body in our solar system, Enceladus is an active moon with a surface completely covered in ice. NASA estimates that the ice stretches for about 20-25 kilometers deep into the surface. Enceladus is Saturn's 6th largest Moon in size and the 19th largest Moon in our solar system.

As a result of surface being covered in ice, the temperatures on the moon remain extremely low. During the mid-day, the surface temperatures reach just -198-degree Celsius. According to NASA, Enceladus travels in an elliptical orbit around Saturn at a distance of about 238,000 kilometers. Since this orbit is tidally locked, this means only one side of the Moon faces Saturn at all times.

The image was captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft for the first time in 2005 when the spacecraft made a close flyby. It examined the Moon's south polar region, capturing its unique and complex terrain. Sharing the image on Instagram, NASA explained, "Cassini's image of the white surface of Enceladus is seen in an enhanced coloured view. The Moon's surface is marred by light blue cracks spreading out in all directions and spotted with deep craters. The planet is not fully visible as black space surrounds the moon, and a shadow develops the right side of its surface."

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Cassini's discovery about Enceladus

Upon close flyby to the Moon, NASA scientists were intrigued by the readings taken by the magnetometer. They discovered something was pushing against Saturn's magnetic field near Enceladus.

After a close inspection, NASA's Cassini spacecraft revealed that Enceladus is an active moon that hides a global ocean of liquid salty water beneath its crust. Jets of icy particles from buried ocean, laced with a brew of water and simple organic chemicals, gush out into space continuously from this fascinating ocean world.

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First Published Date: 17 Jan, 17:10 IST
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