With all of the talk lately about finding water on Mars and the New Horizons photographs of Pluto and its moons, NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn has taken a backseat. However, today (the 28th of October 2015) the Cassini spacecraft will fly just 30 miles (50 kilometers) above Enceladus, the sixth largest moon of Saturn. Currently Saturn is known to have 62 moons (53 of them have been named; http://www.nasa.gov) but back in Lovecraft’s day the planet was thought to have only ten moons.
Fractured geysers at the southern pole of Enceladus (NASA)
The goal of the Cassini mission is to fly through and sample one of the plumes that erupts from the moon’s southern polar region (NASA). As far as we know there is a sub-surface ocean underneath the icy crust of Enceladus. This will be the first time in history that samples will be collected from an ocean NOT on Earth. It will be interesting to find out what Cassini finds.