These three graphics represent possible models for mechanisms that could generate the water vapor and tiny ice particles detected by Cassini over the southern polar terrain on Enceladus.
The models, in turn, invoke sublimation of warmed surface ice, venting by "plumes" and sublimation of an ammonia-water "slush" or "slurry" on the surface.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.