Monday April 15, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, Room 220 Guyot Hall
The Princeton Program in Planets and LIfe and the Department of Geosciences invite you to a lecture by Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini Spacecraft Imaging Team Leader, on:
"The Active South Polar Terrain of Enceladus: How Its Jets, Heat and Tidal Stresses are Related"
In 2005, the Cassini mission at Saturn discovered a remarkable and unique geological province at the south pole of the small moon, Enceladus. Towering jets of powder-sized icy particles, and water vapor laced with organic compounds, vent from several prominent fractures crossing the 500-km wide south polar cap. And a shocking 16GW of thermal radiaion emitted by the region, among other lines of evidence, points to a regional sea below the south polar terrain, almost certainly created by the dissipation of tidal energy arising from a 2:1 orbital resonance between Enceladus and its sister moon, Dione. With excess heat, organics, and liquid water, the significance of this moon as a possible host of prebiotic chemistry, or even extraterrestrial organisms, is obvious.
This presentation will examine the relationships between the jets, anomalous heat, and tidal stresses, and evaluate what these relationships mean for the mechanisms responsible for Enceladus' surprising activity.