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Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:31 PM

Saturn Moon Enceladus Eyed for Sample-Return Mission

SAN FRANCISCO Scientists are developing a mission concept that would snag icy particles from Saturn's moon Enceladus and return them to Earth, where they could be analyzed for signs of life.

The spacecraft would fly through the icy plume blasted into space by geysers near Enceladus' south pole, then send the collected particles back to our planet in a return capsule. Enceladus may be capable of supporting life, and the flyby sample-return mission would bring pieces from its depths to Earth at a reasonable price, researchers said.

"This is really the low-hanging fruit" of sample-return missions, said study leader Peter Tsou of Sample Exploration Systems in La Canada, Calif., who presented the idea here Wednesday (Dec. 5) at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. "It would be a shame not to pick it."


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Reply Saturn Moon Enceladus Eyed for Sample-Return Mission (Original post)
n2doc Dec 2012 OP
Canuckistanian Dec 2012 #1

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:30 AM

1. Intriguing idea

Flying a probe through the geysers and analyzing the collected results.

Certainly a relatively cheap method of hunting for possible living organisms.

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