March 7, 2011
This graphic, using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows how the south polar terrain of Saturn's moon Enceladus emits much more power than scientists had originally predicted.
Data from Cassini composite infrared spectrometer indicate that the south polar terrain of Enceladus has an internal heat-generated power of about 15.8 gigawatts. That is approximately 2.6 times the power output of all the hot springs in the Yellowstone region, or comparable to 20 coal-fueled power stations.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The composite infrared spectrometer team is based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.