Follow this link to skip to the main content

Enceladus Discovery Timeline

February and March 2005

Cassini makes two trips by Enceladus.

  • Cassini's magnetometer discovers an atmosphere around Enceladus, evidence that gases may be originating from the moon's surface or interior.
    + Read More
  • The cosmic dust analyzer records thousands of hits from tiny particles of dust or ice, possibly coming from a cloud around the moon or from the adjacent E ring.
    + Read More
  • The science teams plan to go back for a closer look.

July 2005


Cassini flies within 175 kilometers (109 miles) of Enceladus, the closest it comes to any of Saturn's moons.

Warm Fractures on Enceladus
Warm Fractures on Enceladus
  • The imaging team sees unusual geology on the moon's southern pole, including house-sized ice boulders and evidence of recent geological activity.
    + Read More
  • The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer determines that the large dark cracks, called "tiger stripes," at the south pole are very young and seem to have a continual supply of fresh ice.
    + Read More
  • The composite infrared spectrometer shows that the south pole is much warmer than expected, suggesting an internal heat source.
    + Read More
  • The ion and neutral mass spectrometer and the ultraviolet imaging spectrograph detect water vapor in the atmosphere, which appears to come from a localized source.
    + Read More

November 2005


  • Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer measures the spectrum of the plumes originating from the south pole of the icy moon, capturing a very clear signature of small ice particles.
    + Read More
  • Fountains of Enceladus
    Fountains of Enceladus
  • The imaging team produces the first high-resolution images of the plume of icy material streaming from Enceladus' south pole, possible evidence of Yellowstone-like geysers fed by reservoirs of liquid water.
    + Read More