“10,000 km plume of water vapor detected on Saturn’s satellite”

The largest plume of water vapor ever to erupt from Saturn’s moon has been captured, the British Daily Guardian reported.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said, “NASA researchers used the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to observe a plume of water vapor 6,000 miles (about 10,000 km) long on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.”

This is the same level as the plume of water vapor that erupted from Los Angeles, USA, which reached Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is 20 times longer than the diameter of Enceladus (about 500 km).

▲ Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

“It was also impressive that this water vapor increased by about 79 gallons (about 299 liters) per second,” NASA said. It takes more than two weeks to fill an Olympic swimming pool with a normal swimming hose.

This is not the first time that a plume of water has been seen erupting from Saturn’s sixth largest moon, Enceladus.

Earlier in 2005, NASA’s Cassini Saturn probe also discovered water vapor erupting through fissures in Enceladus’ surface and forming pillars, the Guardian reported.

This is a phenomenon that occurs because there is an underground sea under the ice sheet of Enceladus, and this sea is the reason why Enceladus is considered the most likely place in the solar system for life to exist along with Jupiter Europa .

The scientific journal Nature explains that the scientific community believes there is a possibility that life could exist around hydrothermal vents in the sea.

However, this is the first time such a large plume of water has been seen on Enceladus.

“When I looked at the data for the first time, I thought maybe I was wrong,” said Geronimo Villanueva of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), who led the observations. It was very surprising,” he said.

The possibility that this water column contains organic compounds that are the ingredients of life has also been raised.

Previously, Cassini observed organic compounds such as methane, carbon dioxide, and ammonia while observing Enceladus.

The research team plans to continue observing Enceladus in the future and focus on finding organic compounds and hydrogen peroxide that are necessary for the existence of life, Nature said.

The researchers evaluated that “JWST opens a new window in exploring Enceladus as it prepares for future missions.”

The results of the observation will be officially published in Nature Astronomy soon.

Science Team

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