Question Sheet: Saturn’s Strangely Warm Moon
- Is there any possibility of life outside of Earth? What would you look for in a planet to suggest the possibility of life?
- Based on the title of this article, what would you predict that the article is about?
- Why is it surprising that one of Saturn’s moons is “oozing” heat?
- What was “one of the most exciting phone calls [John Spencer] can remember”?
- How did scientists determine that Enceladus had to be producing its own heat?
- Why can the sun be ruled out as a heat source for Enceladus? How is the heat
- What other bodies in the solar system generate detectable heat?
- What other elements and compounds exist in the plumes emitted by Enceladus?
- Besides waiting for the Cassini spacecraft to pass close to the moon in
2008, what else can scientists do to try to learn more about Enceladus? See saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/events/enceladus20050802/index.cfm
- Compare the features of Enceladus to another moon orbiting Saturn. How does
Enceladus differ from the other moon? In what ways is it the same? See solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Enceladus (NASA) or csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/saturn/moons.html(University of Tennessee, Knoxville).
- What do scientists look for when they search for life in outer space?
Besides the presence of liquid water, what else might encourage or suggest life?
See sci2.esa.int/specialevents/lifeinuniverse/index.html (European
Space Agency) and origins.jpl.nasa.gov/habitable-planets/index.html(NASA).
- What conditions produce a geyser on Earth? Why can’t the same conditions
produce geysers on Enceladus? See www.umich.edu/~gs265/geysers.html(University of Michigan).
- How many moons of Saturn have been officially named? Where did the names
come from? See saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/moons/index.cfm (NASA).
Who discovered Saturn’s moon Enceladus? When was the discovery made? How was the moon’s name selected? See solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Sat_Enceladus&Display=Facts (NASA) and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enceladus_(moon)(Wikipedia).
- The names of planets and moons usually come from Greek and Roman mythology. What is the myth surrounding Enceladus? If you were going to name a moon what would you call it? See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enceladus_(mythology)(Wikipedia).
- Go to the Web site www.nineplanets.org/ (William A. Arnett). Write a brief review of the site. What information does it provide? How up-to-date is that information? What else might it include about Enceladus?
Saturn’s largest moon Titan has a radius of 2,575 kilometers. Enceladus has a radius of 250 kilometers. How many times wider is Titan than Enceladus? How many times larger is Titan’s surface area? How many times larger is Titan’s volume?