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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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More evidence for Enceladus' habitability [20090723|07:50]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |excited]

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) gave a press release today about results from Cassini's INMS (Ion & Neutral Mass Spectrometer) instrument during a flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus last year. The data show ammonia coming from Enceladus' geysers. The plumes emit mostly water-ice, but the presence of complex organics got everyone speculating about Enceladus' ability to support life. The presence of ammonia provides additional evidence that liquid water could exist under Enceladus' crust, even though it's still much colder than on Earth (-115 degrees Celsius).

Results like this require cross-disciplinary cooperation to analyse the implications fully, not to mention the appeal they have for those of us keen to find hard evidence that we're not alone in the universe. I'm thrilled.

The press release can be found here.

[User Picture]From: sneakypeteiii
2009-07-23 07:11 (UTC)
I thought the INMS wasn't so good at neutrals? There is a chance some of the organics are actually ions; Brian D. mentioned something about this the other day. Still, excitement, as I remember Nealson and others proposing a while back that one should "follow the nitrogen" to find life on other planets.

Also, you just spelled it "analyse."
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From: pbristow
2009-07-23 13:15 (UTC)
"Also, you just spelled it "analyse.""

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-24 15:41 (UTC)
I think the resolution isn't great either. But I haven't read the papers yet so can't be too critical.

Damn. One by one my spellings Anglicize. I remember the first time this happened to me with "colour".
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