Interplanetary spacecraft Cassini closer to unraveling the strange jets escaping from the surface of the mysterious moon of Saturn — Enceladus. The Jets were salty. Scientists believe that beneath the surface of Enceladus may be hiding an ocean of salt water.
Data on the composition of the jets came after analysis of particles ejected by the characteristic cracks on the icy moon — the so-called tiger stripes. Chemical analyzer found that close to the moon's surface granules contain sodium and potassium salts. This indicates that, under the icy crust of Enceladus ocean splashing salt water and salt particles are formed by evaporation. Pellets thrown far from the surface, are quite small, and low in salt.
"To explain the flat jets salt granules nothing fits better than the ocean of salt water", — said Frank Postberg (Frank Postberg), member of the team Cassini. First water fountains and ice particles Enceladus Cassini discovered back in 2005. In a paper published in Nature, an analysis of particles, performed during the satellite in 2008 and 2009. Ice particles flew into the analyzer with speeds up to 63 thousand kilometers per hour, instantly evaporates. Electric field inside the device separate molecules of different substances from each other. Calculations have shown that a vast reservoir of salt water should be at a depth of 80 kilometers below the surface. Washing the solid rock, the water dissolves the salt, and rises through cracks in the ice shell. If the surface cracks open, the difference in pressure causes water and ice particles escape to the outside.
"This discovery — the most important evidence showing that the conditions on the icy satellites of gas giants may well be suitable for life" — said Nicholas Altobelli, a scientist of the European Space Agency.