'NASA's Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus.
High-resolution Cassini images show icy jets and towering plumes ejecting huge quantities of particles at high speed.
'"Other moons in the solar system have liquid-water oceans covered by kilometers of icy crust," said Andrew Ingersoll, imaging team member and atmospheric scientist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "What's different here is that pockets of liquid water may be no more than tens of meters below the surface."
'"As Cassini approached Saturn, we discovered the Saturnian system is filled with oxygen atoms. At the time we had no idea where the oxygen was coming from," said Candy Hansen, Cassini scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. "Now we know Enceladus is spewing out water molecules, which break down into oxygen and hydrogen."
If this breaking news item that Drudge has managed to snatch 2 hours before it's release is true it changes everything. Forget the moon. Forget Mars. Enceladius is the destination of choice for future space pioneers.
Liquid water doesn't just mean that life is present there. As I've said before the practical significance of a microbe on another planet or moon means nothing.
However, liquid water means something else. This is a place where we could go and live.
Water begets oxygen. A steady source of oxygen, even if extracted from Enceladian water, is still a resource that makes a planet even that far out the best candidate for a little colony. Especially LIQUID WATER. That means temperatures that aint so harsh as the Moon or even Mars.
Some Sober Second Thought:
Ixnay everything else I just said. Apparently it's more of a "Water Ice" Geiser. Though still impressive is the fact that this gives some nice evidence of underground water at above zero temperatures close to the surface of the moon.
Though it's viability as a resource is doubtfull. My enthuasim was not well placed. The Moon still looks to be the best place for space pioneers I'm afraid.