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Cassini sees Enceladus’ plumes…

Wow… (and I’m only using that word ‘cos I can’t possibly use the swear word I wanted to when I first saw the images half an hour ago!)… Cassini has been sending back new images of the plumes gushing out of Enceladus’ south pole, and they’re amazing…

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Closer…

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… and closer still…

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Tweaking and enhancing and generally piddling about with one of the images results in this startling view…

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I’m pretty stunned by these images, and to be honest, after doing this stuff, after living space and space exploration for all these years it takes a lot to actually stun me… I mean, I’m sitting here in my flat in Kendal, at 6.40 in the morning… I will be heading out to work in less than half an hour, walking through curtain after curtain of lashing, icy rain, and I’ll get there literally soaked to the skin… but I’ll get there with a head full of images of geysers of icy water spewing out of a moon orbiting Saturn, remembering something my good UMSF friend nprev said… that yesterday, when Cassini flew though these plumes, because some scientists believe that the material in these plumes contains bacteria or micro-organisms that shelter and thrive in the water below the pole, for the first time in human history perhaps a machine built by mankind touched alien lifeforms… I just can’t shake that thought when I look at these glorious pictures…

And trust me, now you won’t be able to, either…