"The famous Ice Tower Ridge atop Mt Erebus, an active volcano in Antarctica, serve as the model for this image of Enceladus, Saturn’s ice-volcano moon. The artist camped on Mount Erebus over Christmas of 2016 with NASA volcanologist Rosaly Lopes. They were on an NSF expedition to study the formations on Erebus as planetary analogs. The ice towers, some as high as a five-story structure, grow over volcanic vents, gradually building as layers of ice develop, expanding like stalagmites into the frigid sky.
In the painting, the view illustrates the recently proposed concept that some ancient eruptive Tiger Stripes of Enceladus have migrated further north, toward the equator. These long-dead geyser sites may have been carried northward by the decoupled (floating) crust of the tiny ice moon, bringing Saturn higher in the sky than it appears at today’s eruptive vents."