The Loom

Where There’s Liquid Water…

enceladus.jpg Enceladus, a tiny moon of Saturn, suddenly gets interesting. It may be spewing liquid water. And since the only life we know of needs liquid water–and since Enceladus may now be the second place we know of in the solar system with liquid water–I want to buy a ticket there. Details and pictures here.


  1. #1 Casey Martinez
    March 9, 2006

    This raises many questions about where the water came from, why is it not frozen, and what forces could build up pressure of that extent. Could this moon have a liquid water core?


  2. #2 Robin Goodfellow
    March 10, 2006

    Almost certainly the water is liquid due to tidal forces as Enceladus orbits Saturn in a 1:2 orbital resonance with Dione. Same goes for being under pressure. Interestingly, cryovulcanism is already known to exist on Neptune’s moon Triton. And Cryovulcanism has long been suspected as the source of Enceladus’ young and odd surface.

    This recent news is more “filling in the blanks” than “out of the blue”. Take a look at what was known about Enceladus previously and compare to the recent discoveries, for example. Nevertheless, it is a no less remarkable discovery.

  3. #3 Stephen Uitti
    March 10, 2006

    Cryovulcanism is suspected on Titan as well.

  4. #4 David B. Benson
    March 10, 2006

    Dear Carl Zimmer,

    No, you really don’t want to buy a ticket to there. See the most recent Scientific American! What you do want to do is encourage better NASA budgets for robotic exploration, to eventually include robotic searches for life.

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