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Saturn's moon Enceladus glows in close-up pictures from Cassini spacecraft

Published 30/10/2015

Saturn's moon Enceladus is seen above the planet's rings as as the Cassini spacecraft prepared to make a close flyby (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute via AP)
Saturn's moon Enceladus is seen above the planet's rings as as the Cassini spacecraft prepared to make a close flyby (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute via AP)

Saturn's geyser-spouting moon Enceladus has a new portfolio, thanks to the Cassini spacecraft.

Nasa released its latest close-ups of the little icy moon on Friday. The preliminary unprocessed views were taken when Cassini flew past Enceladus on Wednesday.

The spacecraft zoomed right through the ocean world's erupting jet of water vapour and frozen particles. The US-European spacecraft skimmed within 30 miles (48km) of the south pole to get a good dousing.

Project scientist Linda Spilker said the images are stunning, but the most exciting is yet to come in the form of scientific data. The geyser measurements are still coming down from the Saturn-orbiting Cassini. It will take weeks to analyse the information.

Scientists believe an underground ocean of liquid water is the source of the shooting jet stream.

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