Hydrothermal Vents on Enceladus

Enceladusstripes_cassiniJust days after posting about five places in the solar system that could support life now or in the past, it was announced that Saturn’s moon Enceladus may very likely have hydrothermal vents.  And they’re hot.  If confirmed, this would mean that only two places in the solar system are known to have them, Enceladus and Earth.

Artist’s concept of hydrothermal vents at Enceladus’ southern polar region. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Jets of water vapour have been observed at the southern polar area of Enceladus coming from around 100 cryovolcanoes.  The “tiger stripes” found on Enceladus are in this region.

Hydrothermal vents near the Marianas Trench. Courtesy of NOAA.

Hydrothermal vents are wonderful places to find life that doesn’t necessarily need oxygen to live.  It’s hypothesised that life could have formed around these vents on prehistoric Earth, as they are teeming with life.  Knowing this, my initial assessment of Enceladus’ possibility of supporting life has gone up quite a bit.

This is very exciting news.  Cassini will pass by Enceladus only three more times.  Hopefully more information will be discovered.

Commentition March 2015 Madness

What a month it’s been.  There’s been a big shakeup in the commenter rankings, including a newcomer who shot way up very quickly.  Do you wonder who it is?  Let’s see who’s in the top six.

The top six commenters are based on the previous 1000 comments, nearly half of which are mine.  The rest go to all of you commenters.  462 were my comments, the rest went to others.  So here are the top six:

1. Keeping the lead is once again S. R. Carrillo.  She has staying power, doesn’t she?  Can no one top her commenting power?  With 63 comments, she was number one again.  Her most recent post is a summary of February: February 2015 Wrap-Up.

2. Coming in at second place is our newcomer, stomperdad! He had 48 comments.  Just how did he go from nowhere near the top six to being number two in such a short time? He has dedication! His most recent blog post is A 7 Year Old’s Man Cold.

3. In third place is someone who hasn’t changed places at all.  It’s H. Anthe Davis with 36 comments.  She’s consistent!  Her latest blog post is Things I Have Researched.  That’s some fascinating reading, actually.

4. Coming in fourth place is our former second place commenter, Linda G. Hill with 35 comments.  Just slightly under third place! Her latest blog post is 191. Scenes from the Second Seat on the Right.

5. Dropping from fourth place down to fifth is Thomas Weaver with 29 comments.  Actually, fifth place is a tie! His latest blog post is Character interviews – what should I ask them?

5. And finally, our other fifth place commenter is none other than Caren Rich (carenksr)! She’s still in the same place as before with 29 comments.  Her latest post is some writing advice, Plotting 101, part 2.

I’d like to thank the top six for their great commenting.  But I’d also like to thank everyone else who didn’t make the list.  You’re all what makes blogging so worthwhile.  And who knows, you may make the top six in the future! Happy commenting!