Special Reports

Composition and Physical Properties of Enceladus' Surface

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Science  10 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5766, pp. 1425-1428
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121031

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Observations of Saturn's satellite Enceladus using Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer instrument were obtained during three flybys of Enceladus in 2005. Enceladus' surface is composed mostly of nearly pure water ice except near its south pole, where there are light organics, CO2, and amorphous and crystalline water ice, particularly in the region dubbed the “tiger stripes.” An upper limit of 5 precipitable nanometers is derived for CO in the atmospheric column above Enceladus, and 2% for NH3 in global surface deposits. Upper limits of 140 kelvin (for a filled pixel) are derived for the temperatures in the tiger stripes.

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