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MSRAL 2006 Convention

SLAS Regular Meeting
Friday, March 20th - 7:30 pm
McDonnell Hall, Washington University

The Little Satellite That
Could– Amazing Enceladus!


Professor William McKinnon
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Washington University

Enceladus is strange world featuring very young terrains sculpted by ice volcanism. It is one of the more than sixty known satellites of the giant planet Saturn. Enceladus is small, barely 300 miles in diameter, but still one of the most interesting worlds in our solar system. Its smooth, highly reflective surface has few craters, an indication that the surface is geologically very young.  NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft has imaged plumes of water ice erupting high into the sky above Enceladus. The plumes, as well as some of the surface features, reveal Enceladus as a world shaped by volcanic action – but volcanism based on flowing ice rather than molten rock. Dr. McKinnon will describe the nature and evolution of Enceladus, including new images and discoveries from the Cassini mission.

William McKinnon is a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and a Fellow of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences at Washington University. His research interests involve cratering processes and the internal structure and dynamics of the icy worlds of the outer solar system. These include Pluto and the satellites of the giant planets.


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