NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Kevin M. Gill/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Astronaut pee could help unravel the secrets of Enceladus’s plumes

Many astronauts have remarked on the beauty of extraterrestrial urine dumps (including Bill Paxton’s character Fred Haise in Apollo 13). Pee particles flash freeze when they meet the vacuum of space, their crystals spreading out like millions of tiny twinkling stars glinting in the sun. Now, New Scientist reports, researchers think urine dumps may help us understand the water plumes of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, promising candidates in the hunt for extraterrestrial life. We know the plumes originate from liquid ocean covered with a thick sheet of ice, but we don’t know much about the size and distribution of the particles. Studying how urine freezes and moves through space, though not a perfect model, could help scientists design future missions to sample the plumes.

Latest News