Friday, March 18, 2011

Enceladus is Hot, Hot

Previously this blog has reported ever-increasing estimates of the heat coming from Saturn's moon Enceladus. Our Cassini spacecraft has found that little moon's South Pole is a "hot spot" spewing gas and water vapour into Space. Enceladus is a laboratory in which contains clues to a tiny Black Hole. A central singularity would affect our understanding of many objects, including Earth.

Way back in June 2006, the estimates of Enceladus' heat output were around 1 gigawatt. This was reported in Here Be Dragons.

"In 2005 our Cassini spacecraft made some amazing discoveries about Saturn and her moons. The moon Enceladus has a volcanic "hot spot" centred on its South Pole. The pole, which should be the coldest region on the moon, is the hottest! This spot emits an enormous plume of vapour which maintains Saturn's E Ring. Old theories of radioactive decay or tidal stress can not explain this hot spot.

"Enceladus' core and behaviour can be modelled with a central singularity of 10^12 kg. This mass is typical for a primordial singularity. This object consumes only 2.8 kg per year and generates 10^9 watts of radiation. Water and other molecules near this centre are heated to a plasma. Electrons are stripped from atoms, and the resulting ions are drawn into circular orbits. The resulting current generates a magnetic field with the "positive" pole in the South.

"Electrons and positively charged ions spiral along magnetic field lines to form bipolar jets, the classic sign of a singularity. The Northern jet is composed of electrons which are absorbed by the moon's interior. More energetic ions of the Southern jet penetrate these layers to warm the South Pole. Escaping ions spiral into space, exactly as observed by Cassini."

By December 2007, estimates of the heat were up to 6 GW, AGU's Expanding Universe.

"Monday morning in Moscone South Room 102 Carolyn Porco began a series of talks on Saturn moons. Jennifer Meyer made the surprise assertion that Enceladus' 6 GW of heat can not be accounted for by tidal forces. The conventional estimate from tidal heating is only 0.12 GW. The old hypothesis or "radioactive decay" does not work for these icy moons. In desperation some researchers are conjecturing a meteorite strike at the South Pole, a true deus ex machina. Enceladus' core is an excellent place to consider a Black Hole."

Hooray for Jennifer Meyer, young and daring to question the orthodoxy! This month estimates of the heat are up to 15.8 gigawatts!
JPL Press Release:

"Heat output from the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus is much greater than was previously thought possible, according to a new analysis of data collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research on March 4.

"Data from Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer of Enceladus' south polar terrain, which is marked by linear fissures, indicate that the internal heat-generated power is about 15.8 gigawatts, approximately 2.6 times the power output of all the hot springs in the Yellowstone region, or comparable to 20 coal-fueled power stations."

15.8 gigawatts is far more than can be produced by radioactive decay, tidal forces, a meteorite strike, or any other theory so far considered. It is well within the range that could be produced by a tiny Black Hole. Saturn's little moon is a laboratory where we can observe the processes that created our Earth. Earth also generates internal heat, as if our planet were formed around a Black Hole. Earth also has a magnetic field, the existence of which baffled even Einstein. Rotation of the Black Hole would create a field that would not necessarily be aligned with Earth's geographic poles. These mysteries shoud make minds consider a Hole in the Earth.

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Blogger Kea said...

Wow, this is so cool! People can keep arguing forever about the Earth's energy budget, but your explanation for this moon is simply the only plausible explanation on offer. No wonder NASA takes you seriously.

9:42 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks, though it may take a while for a Hole in the Earth to be accepted. Change in geology is slowww...

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

It such a great scientific break through in which neighboring planet had different activity would affect other planets. It would be NASA's Monitoring teams could look some activities evolving Saturn.

8:37 PM  

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