T Nation

NASA Announcement Today


Has anyone heard anything about this? From Drudge:

Big NASA Announcement Set For Today... // NASA is planning to make a huge announcement today, about possible life in our own solar system. Exact details of what we can expect to hear have not been released. We do know that evidence has been found that could point to life relatively close to the earth....

Couldn't get through because the servers are busy. Has anyone read this??


Thu Mar 09 2006 11:21:33 ET


NASA's Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus. The rare occurrence of liquid water so near the surface raises many new questions about the mysterious moon.

"We realize that this is a radical conclusion - that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. "However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms."

High-resolution Cassini images show icy jets and towering plumes ejecting huge quantities of particles at high speed. Scientists examined several models to explain the process. They ruled out the idea the particles are produced or blown off the moon's surface by vapor created when warm water ice converts to a gas. Instead, scientists have found evidence for a much more exciting possibility. The jets might be erupting from near-surface pockets of liquid water above 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), like cold versions of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone.

"We previously knew of at most three places where active volcanism exists: Jupiter's moon Io, Earth, and possibly Neptune's moon Triton. Cassini changed all that, making Enceladus the latest member of this very exclusive club, and one of the most exciting places in the solar system," said John Spencer, Cassini scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder.


"Other moons in the solar system have liquid-water oceans covered by kilometers of icy crust," said Andrew Ingersoll, imaging team member and atmospheric scientist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "What's different here is that pockets of liquid water may be no more than tens of meters below the surface."

"As Cassini approached Saturn, we discovered the Saturnian system is filled with oxygen atoms. At the time we had no idea where the oxygen was coming from," said Candy Hansen, Cassini scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. "Now we know Enceladus is spewing out water molecules, which break down into oxygen and hydrogen."

Scientists still have many questions. Why is Enceladus so active? Are other sites on Enceladus active? Might this activity have been continuous enough over the moon's history for life to have had a chance to take hold in the moon's interior?

In the spring of 2008, scientists will get another chance to look at Enceladus when Cassini flies within 350 kilometers (approximately 220 miles), but much work remains after the spacecraft's four-year prime mission is over.

"There's no question, along with the moon Titan, Enceladus should be a very high priority for us. Saturn has given us two exciting worlds to explore," said Jonathan Lunine, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

Mission scientists report these and other Enceladus findings in this week's issue of Science.

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

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology


I guess that counts as a "huge" announcement if you're NASA. I thought maybe they found an actual organism.


If you've got any background knowledge of science and astronomy, then yeah, this is a relatively huge discovery.

But the way the're hyping it, or perhaps more accurately the way the MEDIA is hyping it, it makes it sound like they found some creatures swimming or crawling around on another planet.


That's awesome. Pretty crazy to think what can be out there.


Well hey that is pretty crazy, actually finding water somewhere else. I can't wait for the follow up reports.


My point exactly.



Just think water on other planets. Who knows, several trillion more dollars and we might even get a distorted photo of that water...

I'm pumped!


No Shit. More money is spent on crap like this than in Iraq. Why can't we have a political movement for decrasing these programs to offset other local disater and war on terror spending.


"If it's just us, wouldn't that be a tremendous waste of space?"
--- Carl Sagan


"Christopher, let's just go on home. It's just a few lousy islands."

(Christopher as in Christopher Columbus :wink:


Wasn't trying to say its no big deal or minimze the discovery. As I said, in relative terms of science, its a huge discovery. Consider the immense diversity of life in the ocean and waterways and also the extremes at which some creatures live. If they can verify that liquid H20 is on that moon then the chances of some form of organic life existing is descent.

My point is, the way the media is throwing the terms around, it made it sound like, initially, that they had found critters of some sort running around out there.



They screwed up.

Report: NASA Will Not Announce Life Find

NASA will not be making a "huge" announcement regarding evidence of life somewhere else in our solar system Thursday, as reported on a local news Web site and repeated by some broadcasters, according to Local 6 News partner Florida Today.

The space agency is releasing a study Thursday at 2 p.m., that is being misinterpreted by some people, according to an Internet posting by Florida Today's John Kelly.

A story posted earlier on a Web site of a local cable news outlet in Central Florida said, "NASA is planning to make a huge announcement today, about possible life in our own solar system." It is simply incorrect, Kelly said.

The station has since removed the story from the Web site, noting that earlier reports may have been misleading.

So the news media screwed up, and reported the wrong thing.



Well shit, they found water on one of Saturn's moons. Now the aliens know we know they are out there. We are toast. Great job NASA.


Not even close. MAYBE more money is spent on NASA in a year than is spent on Iraq in a week. Other than that, you don't know what you're talking about.


Hey! Settle down there, sparky!


Still interesting that there's possibly "geysers" on one of Saturn's moons. That can mean that the conditions for life as we know it could be in other places other than Earth.

BTW, what's going on with Mars? Have they been messin' with rovers on there still or what? And then what about this "new" planet? How's that goin' too?



There's NASA's budget and projected budgets. I think if I read it right, the FY 2007 is slated to have a budget of roughly 17 billion dollars.

The U.S. Department of Defense's budget is almost 500 billion. I think Iraq costs roughly 50 billion bucks. It's in the following HTML somewhere.:slight_smile:



The biggest technology "boom" in the history of the world came from pouring money into the space program in the 70's. I think that there should be a lot more money being put into the space program than there currently is.


yea. What will religion say if we find life on other planets...

Fuck it, lets not bother trying to unravel life's mysteries, and lets spend more money on overturning South American governments and killing Arabs.

You really hit the nail on the head there Zeb. I expect nothing less..