Great timing! Scientists find under-ice lake on Enceladus, possible home to extraterrestrial life

I’d like to thank the good folks at NASA and the scientists studying data from the Cassini probe for putting Saturn’s moon Enceladus in the news just one month before the release of The Enceladus Crisis.

Seriously, I need to send someone a fruit basket or something.

The news itself is cool: By studying gravity measurements from Cassini from 2010-2012, scientists believe that there is indeed a body of water under Enceladus’ ice — a big one, too. It’s believed to be the size of Lake Superior.

It’s that body of water, located at the moon’s southern pole, that feeds the plumes of water that erupt from the “tiger stripe” formations there.

Here’s the kicker, though: Those same gravity readings have led scientists to believe that Enceladus is a “differentiated body.” That means that the planet has a rocky core, with the aforementioned lake on top, and a layer of ice covering it all and protecting the water and rock from radiation and other space-y stuff.

And when you have carbon and silicates in contact with freestanding water, and a planetary core warmed by the immense push-pull of Saturn’s gravity, you have the possibility of life.

Now, we’re likely talking very primitive life — microbes if we’re super lucky. But still, that’s pretty amazing. The folks at io9 have a good write-up here.

I’m feeling really lucky on a personal level, what with The Enceladus Crisis hitting shelves in just over a month. I did a ton of research on Saturn’s little moon for the book, and this latest study confirms a lot of the stuff I put in there. Way cool.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt that there’s all kinds of headlines about Enceladus happening right now, what with the moon’s name in the title of the book, coming in mere weeks. I’m not going to get all spoilery about the role Enceladus plays in the novel, but let’s just say that this latest bit dovetails nicely with what I’ve got going on.

On a related note, Barnes & Noble now has Nook ebook pre-ordering available for The Enceladus Crisis. You can also pre-order the ebook on Amazon and Kobo. No word yet on iTunes and Google Play, but I’ll keep you posted. And, of course, if you like your books in paper form, you can pre-order it from wherever fine books are sold.

#SFWApro

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