Another smoking gun in the search for life in Enceladus’ ocean
Published 4/13/2017 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Today, NASA-funded scientists announced a major new step in the search for life on Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, thanks to new data collected by the NASA/ESA Cassini mission. Enceladus has attracted a lot of interest because it has an active pole that spews jets of material into outer space. During its last flyby over that pole, an instrument on board the Cassini spacecraft detected the presence of a biomarker—molecular hydrogen. This suggests that the ocean we know lies beneath the moon’s surface could indeed contain an ecosystem similar to the ones we find in deep-sea hydrothermal vents on Earth. [caption id="attachment_1938" align="aligncenter"... read more ❯

Quiescent volcanic activity on Io in November 2010
Published 12/8/2010 in Franck Marchis Blog Author itops
On the first half-nights of November 29 and 30 UT, telescope time with the W.M. Keck II telescope and its Adaptive Optics (AO) was granted to us. The goal of this observation program was to search and study multiple asteroids. Since Jupiter was close to its opposition and observable at the beginning of the night, we spent a short amount of time to observe Io, innermost Galilean satellite of Jupiter, well-known for its exotic and spectacular volcanism. An adaptive otics system (AO in short) removes in real time the effect of the atmospheric turbulences which blur the images collected from the... read more ❯