Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Even More Enceladus from the BBC and New Scientist

New Scientist and BBC News both have fantastic articles on the press conference today in London on Enceladus. Both cover similar results from the two press releases, but both do mention that VIMS found simple organic compounds along the tiger stripes (shown above) in addition to crystalline ices. This may confirm the marginal detection of methane in the INMS mass spectra. No word yet what the simple organics are. I'm trying to find out as I type this. The New Scientist articles does go into speculation that the boulders seen by ISS at very high resolution may be lava bombs, but such a mechanism may not be necessary given the intense tectonic reworking of the region. Torrence Johnson is quoted as saying, "They are awfully large, but Enceladus' gravity is weak, so it doesn't take much to lift stuff off the surface".