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Enceladus: New Organic Compounds via Cassini Data

8 Oct 2019, 15:02 UTC
Enceladus: New Organic Compounds via Cassini Data
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

While I’m working on the project I discussed the other day, I’m trying to keep my hand in with the occasional article here, looking forward to when I can get back to a more regular schedule. Things are going to remain sporadic for a bit longer this month, and then again in mid-November, but I’ll do my best to follow events and report in when I can. I did want to take the opportunity to use an all too brief break to get to the Enceladus news, which has been receiving attention from the space media and, to an extent, the more general outlets.
We always track Enceladus news with interest given those remarkable geysers associated with its south pole, and now we return to the Cassini data pool, which should be producing robust research papers for many years. In this case, Nozair Khawaja (University of Berlin) and colleagues have tapped data from the spacecraft’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) to study the ice grains Enceladus emits into Saturn’s E ring, finding nitrogen- and oxygen-bearing compounds. These are similar to compounds found on Earth that can produce amino acids. Says Khawaja:
“If the conditions are right, these molecules coming from the ...

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