Saturn’s geyser-spouting moon Enceladus seen in close-up pictures


Saturn’s geyser-spouting moon Enceladus has a new portfolio, thanks to the Cassini spacecraft.

NASA released its latest close-ups of the little icy moon Friday. The preliminary unprocessed views are from Cassini’s flyby of Enceladus on Wednesday. The spacecraft zoomed right through the ocean world’s erupting jet of water vapor and frozen particles. The U.S.-European spacecraft skimmed within 30 miles (48 km) of the south pole to get a good dousing.

Project scientist Linda Spilker says the images are stunning, but the most exciting is yet to come in the form of scientific data. The geyser measurements are still coming down from the Saturn-orbiting Cassini. It will take weeks to analyze.

Scientists believe an underground ocean of liquid water is the source of the shooting jet stream.