Thursday, March 09, 2006

Enceladus and science by NASA press release

The hype surrounding the issue of liquid water on Enceladus is fueled by NASA's (legitimate) worry about funding for planetary science. It's not a shocking discovery; Enceladus has ridges that are tectonic in nature, has some younger terrain and is tidally heated. Cassini saw earlier gas streamers coming off the pole of the moon.

Science by press release, at least when hyped to the levels of this one, is not the way to go. It's nice that discoveries are reported on a quick cycle, but the "amazingness" of this does not warrent the media's response. The ALH80001 martian meteorite press hype was eventually undermined by real peer-reviewed science.

See my Enceladus animation from two days ago here.

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