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NASA releases closest photos of Saturn's ice-rich moon.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently released stunning photos of Saturn's 'Geyser Moon' Enceladus taken during the Cassini spacecraft flyby on October 28, 2015.

The latest visit to Enceladus is one of the closest approaches ever made to the moon's icy geysers; as the spacecraft passed by within 30 miles in the planet's south polar region. Samples were also collected by the probe for further studies about the moon's composition and hydrothermal activities.

In a report by ABC News, NASA said the space probe's plunge was significant as the moons' global ocean and possible hydrothermal activities mean it could hold the ingredients needed to support simple life.

Scientists have been studying the moon's exterior since July 2004, after continuous erupting fountains with icy material were discovered. Salts and organics in the icy spray have been previously detected by the probe's instruments. Hidden vent activities are also probable as plumes of silica particles and methane are also present.

Cassini's next flyby, this time to measure the heat from the moon's interior, is scheduled on December 19 this year. In 2016, the probe will be maneuvering the orbits of Saturn's rings, and in September 2017, the spacecraft will plunge into the planet's atmosphere once the probe's fuel runs out.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and the Italian Space Agency.

CAPTION(S):

Photo taken on October 28, 2015 and received on Earth October 30, 2015. The camera was pointing towards Enceladus, and the image was taken using the CL1 and UV3 filters. (Photo courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory website)

Photo of Enceladus' surface at a distance of approximately 77 miles (124 kilometers) from the moon. (Photo courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory website)

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Title Annotation:Featured Story
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Oct 31, 2015
Words:293
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