JPL Volcanologist Possible Ice Volcano on Titan May Provide Ingredients for Life

Dr. Rosaly Lopes, a NASA JPL Volcanologist, explains the findings explains the radar and infrared spectrometer data from the NASA Cassini spacecraft that reveal the possibility of ingrediants for life. The spacecraft has found possible ice volcanoes on Saturn’s moon Titan that are similar in shape to those on Earth that spew molten rock.

Topography and surface composition data have enabled scientists to make the best case yet in the outer solar system for an Earth-like volcano land form that erupts in ice. The results were presented today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, MSNBC.

Scientists have been debating for years whether ice volcanoes, also called cryovolcanoes, exist on ice-rich moons, and if they do, what their characteristics are. The working definition assumes some kind of subterranean geological activity warms the cold environment enough to melt part of the satellite’s interior and sends slushy ice or other materials through an opening in the surface. Volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and Earth spew silicate lava, details NASA JPL in a news release.

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