Saturn’s moon Enceladus had been an intriguing mystery so far for scientists. Even if the moon’s dimensions are quite small, it has an ocean of liquid saltwater under its shell. The ocean moon sends out icy quills at almost 800 miles/hour, which expands hundreds of miles out into the broader cosmos.
Enceladus, however, has something else that caught scientists’ attention and made them so interested. The Saturn’s moon displays one of the strangest features out there – a bunch of fissures that erupt with that liquid ice, creating what is known now as Enceladus “tiger stripes.”
Those stripes are dubbed after a character or region from 1,0001 Arabian Nights. There are even four stripes, more prominent, named Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, and Alexandria. A recent research details the source story of those stripes and how they developed in parallel, evenly-spaced traces on the moon’s surface.
A new study presented more details on the Enceladus stripes
Doug Hemingway, a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science, also the lead author of the research, expressed his thoughts about these features of the moon. He said: “These stripes are like nothing else known in our Solar System. No other icy planets or moons have anything quite like them.” The research offers more proof to the central study of this strange, possibly livable world.
The stripes were first identified by NASA’s Cassini mission in 2005 as the spacecraft examined Saturn and its moons. Since then, researchers have been trying to understand how these fissures, which can be found only on the moon’s flat area, came to be. The tiger stripes are disposed almost 130 kilometers across and are parallel and somehow spaced, with approximately 35 kilometers between each of them.
They also look like they have been developed only on Enceladus’ south pole. When Enceladus has more periods of cooling, water freezes over, and the icy shell becomes denser on the surface. As the pressure grows from the expanding mass of water, it creates the crust to crack open and form these stripes, according to the new research. Researchers, however, think that Baghdad was the first to appear, and as water resurfaced from that icy part, it resulted in the production of new stripes on either part.