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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

SAT 2SP, Enceladus

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Enceladusplume

Raw, unprocessed image of famous plume crowning Enceladus

Dear ——–,

Yes, I made up the postcode. We’re in the Saturn neighborhood, looking at Enceladus, the planet’s second moon, which has mysterious jets at its South Pole. This icy moon is the reason I was a little MIA for the last two weeks. The Cassini spacecraft, which is one of the projects I work on, was taking its deepest plunge yet through the heart of the plume. Thankfully, the encounter went off without a hitch and scientists are digging through the details. (I helped a scientist blog about it.) I love that scientists know that there are water vapor, organic molecules and salt in the plume and that it emanates from fissures dubbed the Tiger Stripes. I mean, I can practically taste the spray. The fun part is figuring out how the jets are generated. There are suspicions there is an ocean under the icy crust and a heat source. If so, Enceladus would have the right conditions for life. Not my kind of life, though. I’m a wuss about cold and it’s -305 degrees Fahrenheit at the warm spot on the South Pole!

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Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

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