There now seems “little doubt” that Saturn’s moon Enceladus holds a “large body of liquid water” beneath its icy surface after a probe returned yet more evidence. “The Cassini probe, which periodically sweeps past the little moon, has returned yet more data to back up the idea of a sub-surface sea. This time, it is the detection of negatively charged water molecules in the atmosphere of Enceladus. On Earth, such ions are often seen where liquid water is in motion, such as waterfalls or crashing ocean waves. There are no ‘rollers’ on the moon but it does have a very active region near its south pole where water vapour and ice particles shoot through cracks in the surface and rise high into the Enceladian sky. ‘We see water molecules that have additional electrons added,’ explained Andrew Coates from University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory. ‘There are two ways they could be added – from the ambient plasma environment, or it could be to do with friction as these water clusters come out of the jets, like rubbing a balloon and sticking it on the ceiling,’ he told BBC News.”
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