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Water signs on Saturn moon raises possibility of extra-terrestrial life
AFP ^ | March 10, 2006

Posted on 03/10/2006 8:17:30 AM PST by West Coast Conservative

The potential discovery of water on one of Saturn's moons would add a new environment in the solar system where life could exist, according to scientists.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft made the surprising find on Enceladus during its mission around Saturn and the ringed planet's natural satellites.

The probe may have found evidence of liquid water that erupts like geysers from Yellowstone park in the western United States, NASA said Thursday.

"The rare occurrence of liquid water so near the surface raises many new questions about the mysterious moon," NASA said.

"We realize that this is a radical conclusion -- that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

"However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms," Porco said.

The discovery should make Enceladus a research priority along with Saturn's largest moon, Titan, where the European Space Agency's Huygens probe landed in January 2005, scientists said.

"We previously knew of at most three places where active volcanism exists: Jupiter's moon Io, Earth, and possibly Neptune's moon Triton," said John Spencer, a Cassini scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder.

"Cassini changed all that, making Enceladus the latest member of this very exclusive club, and one of the most exciting places in the solar system," Spencer said.

High-resolution images of Enceladus from Cassini "show icy jets and towering plumes ejecting large quantities of particles at high speed," NASA said.

Scientists "ruled out the idea the particles are produced or blown off the moon's surface by vapor created when warm water ice converts to a gas.

"Instead, scientists have found evidence for a much more exciting possibility. The jets might be erupting from near-surface pockets of liquid water above 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), like cold versions of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone."

"There's no question, along with the moon Titan, Enceladus should be a very high priority for us," said Jonathan Lunine, a Cassini interdisciplinary scientist from the University of Arizona.

"Saturn has given us two exciting worlds to explore," he said.

Cassini was launched in October 1997, carrying Huygens with it.

Huygens separated from Cassini in December 2004 to land on Titan. Cassini is on a four-year mission to survey the ringed giant and its satellites.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cassini; enceladus; et; huygens; life; nasa; panspermia; saturn; solarsystem; space; titan

1 posted on 03/10/2006 8:17:36 AM PST by West Coast Conservative
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To: West Coast Conservative

2 posted on 03/10/2006 8:18:39 AM PST by FormerACLUmember (No program, no ideas, no clue: The democrats!)
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To: West Coast Conservative

The latest report I heard was that they determined that the geysers were not water, but pure GIN. Right after that, Teddy Kennedy announced complete funding for a mission to the Saturn moon, which he has unoffically named "WC".


3 posted on 03/10/2006 8:20:40 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: EagleUSA
he latest report I heard was that they determined that the geysers were not water, but pure GIN. Right after that, Teddy Kennedy announced complete funding for a mission to the Saturn moon

No way, Ted's holding out for the Scotch planet.

4 posted on 03/10/2006 8:22:29 AM PST by rhombus
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To: rhombus

The planet "Orca"..


5 posted on 03/10/2006 8:24:06 AM PST by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: West Coast Conservative
"Instead, scientists have found evidence for a much more exciting possibility. The jets might be erupting from near-surface pockets of liquid water above 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), like cold versions of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone."

It's that "warm" on Enceladus?

6 posted on 03/10/2006 8:25:19 AM PST by frogjerk (LIBERALISM: The perpetual insulting of common sense.)
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To: West Coast Conservative
The question of IF there is extraterrestrial life is not a hard one to answer.

OF COURSE there is life outside earth. We've studied like 4 planets... we've "glanced" a dozen more. And on those we've already found evidence of water and rivers, and microbiological organisms in the planets past, and now geysers currently on moons of Saturn shooting water into the air.

There ere are billions of billions of billions of planets in the in the universe, we've seen .00000000000000000000000000000000000001% of them, and 'discovered' even less.

The question of "is there no life other than Earth" is an absurd one... it is virtually guaranteed mathematically. Most people just aren't able to conceive of just how large the universe actually is. I would also argue is it virtually guaranteed (if you factor in passage of time greater towards the center of the universe) that intelligent life is much more rare, but also guaranteed.

The better questions, is how can intelligent species ever hope to traverse the IMMENSE distance between solar systems and galaxies, where even 'light' takes hundreds and thousands of light years (at the short end), which gets into bending space-time by exploiting 'weak' force emitted from decaying element255 bombarded with specific radiation. (or at least so the urban legend goes... ;) )
7 posted on 03/10/2006 8:29:15 AM PST by FreedomNeocon (I'm in no Al-Samood for this Shi'ite.)
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To: West Coast Conservative

I'm guessing that with this "discovery" NASA will need another,oh lets say, $995,000,000,000,000.


8 posted on 03/10/2006 8:30:56 AM PST by Angus MacGregor (Wars are fought in the will...)
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To: FreedomNeocon
OF COURSE there is life outside earth. We've studied like 4 planets... we've "glanced" a dozen more. And on those we've already found evidence of water and rivers, and microbiological organisms in the planets past, and now geysers currently on moons of Saturn shooting water into the air.

We have found definitive evidence of microbiological organisms (past or present)on other planets? Do you have a link to this definitive claim?

9 posted on 03/10/2006 8:33:10 AM PST by frogjerk (LIBERALISM: The perpetual insulting of common sense.)
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To: FreedomNeocon

Fold space. Einstein says it will..........


10 posted on 03/10/2006 8:33:23 AM PST by Red Badger (And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him...)
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To: FreedomNeocon

Whoa, dude. Space is "Far out, man!"


11 posted on 03/10/2006 8:35:04 AM PST by aligncare (Watergate killed journalism)
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To: West Coast Conservative
"However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms,"

Why is it always about extraterrestrial life? I mean, in the utter absence of the slightest evidence of it, why are "living organisms" always at the core of interest? Why not: "there may be postage stamps up there", or something equally desultory? The only possible explanation for this obsession has to be the faith-based axioms, postulates and corollaries of evolutionary thought.
I say, let's just explore all the places we can explore, find what we can find, and announce our findings -- regardless of what those findings are. Because it's there. Knowledge is good, as long as it's true. No agendas allowed, though. No need to interpolate spontaneous life elsewhere just because it supposedly happened here.

12 posted on 03/10/2006 8:38:41 AM PST by Migraine
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To: West Coast Conservative
>>High-resolution images of Enceladus from Cassini "show icy jets and towering plumes ejecting large quantities of particles at high speed," NASA said. <<

Enceladian whales perhaps?


13 posted on 03/10/2006 8:38:49 AM PST by Muleteam1
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To: aligncare

Sorry, sometimes the hippie in me will out.


14 posted on 03/10/2006 8:39:06 AM PST by aligncare (Watergate killed journalism)
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To: FormerACLUmember

15 posted on 03/10/2006 8:40:12 AM PST by freebilly
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To: frogjerk
We have found definitive evidence of microbiological organisms (past or present)on other planets? Do you have a link to this definitive claim?

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_life_050216.html http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/17/creature.features/ http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/opportunity_news_040302.html
16 posted on 03/10/2006 9:13:50 AM PST by FreedomNeocon (I'm in no Al-Samood for this Shi'ite.)
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To: frogjerk
We have found definitive evidence of microbiological organisms (past or present)on other planets? Do you have a link to this definitive claim?

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_life_050216.html

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/17/creature.features/

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/opportunity_news_040302.html
17 posted on 03/10/2006 9:15:51 AM PST by FreedomNeocon (I'm in no Al-Samood for this Shi'ite.)
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To: FreedomNeocon
from the article you linked http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/17/creature.features/:

"So far there have been no shouts of "eureka!" from Mars rover scientists spotting a signature of past or present life."

18 posted on 03/10/2006 9:21:35 AM PST by frogjerk (LIBERALISM: The perpetual insulting of common sense.)
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To: FreedomNeocon
From :http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/opportunity_news_040302.html

Stephen Squyres, principal scientist for the MER mission, said NASA researchers do believe Meridiani Planum, the broader area where Opportunity landed, had a habitable climate for some period of time.

"It doesn't mean life was there," Squyres said. "But this was a habitable place."

None of the links you provided have any definitive proof I requested. I understand you want this to be true and may come true sometime in the future but it is disengenious of you to report conjecture and possible theories as truth.

19 posted on 03/10/2006 9:25:52 AM PST by frogjerk (LIBERALISM: The perpetual insulting of common sense.)
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To: Red Badger
Yep, its proven mathematically. Not just by Einstein either, living people have worked it out.

Empierically, you can observe that an atomic clock will observe 'time' as moving at different rates atop a huge mountain, than it does at sea-level. The theory being, that the minute difference in gravitational force is fundamental in what we perceive as the passage of time (the actual '4th' dimension).

The whole 'weak' force as we know it is the 'force' that holds atoms together. We only have it because scientists have said it is different than the 'strong' force because it attenuates MUCH faster than the 'strong' force as you move away from the proton center.

Well the theory is that the 'gravitational force' that exists on the atomic scale is so immense, that it creates an atomic 'spcae-time bubble' where the passage of what we call "time" is 'faster', so our equations m = v*t has a multiplier on the 't' part, which explains from our perspective (outside the space-time bubble) the force attenuates so much faster.

Anyway, the whole 'warp drive' and bending space time, involved expanding this 'bubble' around an already 'moving' ship or whatever. That way the 'ship' can be going, say 1/2 the speed of light, but 'bend' space around it so they can effectively 'multiply' that speed by a factor (heh... you can call it the 'warp factor') but its all based on the same thing.

The 'rumor' part is that Element 255, due to its atomic structure has an unusually large 'weak' force, and is very stable because of its atomic number. Bismuth is the 2nd best that is currently available, Elemenet255 would be the next 'tier' element that fits the bill.

The 'rumor' is that if you bombard element255 with specific radiation, it get ionized to element 256 or something, and then decays back down to 255 or something lower, and in that process producing enough 'weak' force to be used in the process.

Of course its all theoretical... at least for now.
20 posted on 03/10/2006 9:27:22 AM PST by FreedomNeocon (I'm in no Al-Samood for this Shi'ite.)
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To: FreedomNeocon
The question of "is there no life other than Earth" is an absurd one... it is virtually guaranteed mathematically.

Really?? You sound awfully sure of yourself about something that no one actually knows.

IMO the preponderance of evidence is that there is no intelligent life out there. Scientists have been able to detect the background radiation left over from the big-bang at the furthest reaches of the universe, yet they have not detected one radio signal at any frequency that can be considered from an alien civilization.

We have been broadcasting for about 85-90 years so it's conceivable that our radio signals could be detected as far away as 80 light-years from earth. So we should have detected something from older more advanced civilizations if your premise is true that life abounds throughout the universe.

21 posted on 03/10/2006 12:10:08 PM PST by Mogollon
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