Experts discover the cryovolcanic moon orbiting Saturn in 2009; geysers erupt at its south pole. Scientists discuss internal heat sources, tidal friction, and radioactive elements. They infer a liquid ocean beneath the surface, with potential for life.
Rings of Saturn (03:51)
Scientists discuss the possible origins of dust and ice bands. Sixty-two moons are embedded within; their orbits form ridges and moving patterns. Daphnis, located in the A band, has a two and a half mile peak.
Great Red Spot (04:23)
Jupiter's ancient storm is three times the size of Earth, rises five miles above its atmosphere, and generates 400 mph winds. It is a shrinking high pressure system, spinning counter clockwise. Three white spots have recently merged to create Red Junior.
Asteroid Belt (07:52)
Theoretically, the millions of rocks forming the debris field between Jupiter and Mars could be condensed into a boulder smaller than Earth's moon; the average distance between stones is a million miles. Ceres is the largest object in the zone and has been relabeled a dwarf planet. Near Earth objects strike our atmosphere regularly and burn on entry.
Olympus Mons (04:28)
The largest volcano in the solar system is on Mars; the base is 350 miles across and the summit 13 miles high. Repeated eruptions are the origin of the shield cone. See Mars Express Mission photographs of lava flows.
Surface of the Sun (06:27)
The photosphere of our star is a boiling, plasma ocean; new technology allows a closer look at storms, hot spots, and jetting prominences. Coronal mass ejections shoot material into space; when they strike Earth, they generate auroras and cause electrical failure. Increased activity occurs every 11 years, during solar maximum.
Liquid water, abundant life, and diverse topography make our planet unique to the solar system. Scientists discuss volcanoes and asteroids as sources of the hydrosphere and the evolution of Earth. Humans alter the geology of the planet. (Credits)
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