The data collected by Cassini's Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer during Enceladus flybys in July and Oct. 2008, were released in the July 23 issue of the journal Nature. "When Cassini flew through the plume erupting from Enceladus on October 8 of last year, our spectrometer was able to sniff out many complex chemicals, including organic ones, in the vapor and icy particles," said Hunter Waite, the Cassini Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer Lead Scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
"One of the chemicals definitively identified was ammonia."On Earth, the presence of ammonia means the potential for sparkling clean floors and counter tops. In space, the presence of ammonia provides strong evidence for the existence of at least some liquid water.