Tag Archives: edwin kite

Tidal forces explain how an icy moon of Saturn keeps its ‘tiger stripes’

The persistence of the massive, explosive fissures on the surface of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus — despite the moon’s astoundingly frigid surface — have remained a mystery for 11 years. Researchers from Princeton University and the University of Chicago show, however, that the fissures could be kept active by the sloshing of water in the vast ocean that scientists suppose is beneath the moon’s thick ice shell. The findings could help provide a clear objective for future satellite missions to Enceladus, which scientists suspect could host life. (more…)

Read More

New analysis suggests wind, not water, formed mound on Mars

A roughly 3.5-mile high Martian mound that scientists suspect preserves evidence of a massive lake might actually have formed as a result of the Red Planet’s famously dusty atmosphere, an analysis of the mound’s features suggests. If correct, the research could dilute expectations that the mound holds evidence of a large body of water, which would have important implications for understanding Mars’ past habitability.

Researchers based at Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology suggest that the mound, known as Mount Sharp, most likely emerged as strong winds carried dust and sand into the 96-mile-wide crater in which the mound sits. They report in the journal Geology that air likely rises out of the massive Gale Crater when the Martian surface warms during the day, then sweeps back down its steep walls at night. Though strong along the Gale Crater walls, these “slope winds” would have died down at the crater’s center where the fine dust in the air settled and accumulated to eventually form Mount Sharp, which is close in size to Alaska’s Mt. McKinley. (more…)

Read More