Blue Dot 53: Oceans In The Outer Solar System

May 4, 2017

The search for life beyond Earth is one of the driving forces behind NASA’s exploration of the solar system. Two moons of the outer solar system have been the targets of intense scrutiny as well as plans for future missions – Jupiter’s giant moon Europa and Saturn’s tiny satellite Enceladus both have subsurface oceans of liquid water. In 2005, the Cassini orbiter discovered geyser plumes erupting from Enceladus’ south polar region and recent Hubble Space Telescope observations have indicated that the same type of activity is occurring on Europa. The Cassini orbiter is entering the final months of its mission and just this past week, imaged yet another dramatic picture of the pale blue dot – Earth, set between Saturn’s rings. Joining us to talk about the exciting new discoveries and the end of the mission is Cassini Deputy Project Scientist Scott Edgington.