Even now, the outer planets and their satellites hold many questions within themselves. More than once, the faint glimmer of light in the wrong spot has triggered lifetimes of exploration and fruitful research. Nature yet holds the deepest of her secrets to be teased out little by little on the ice of silent worlds.
Here we see a survey team near the equator of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. Normally, drillships like this are used as a sort of flying oil rig. They tap underground pockets of light hydrocarbons on the outer moons, pumping them to automated cracking and storage complexes which cook them up to ethylene and heavier molecules. These in turn are usually built up to polymers or fuels.
As deployed here, the ships are taking core samples of the icy crust of this moon. The cryovolcanos of the equator spew water ice into the distant sunlight, and leave a thin glaze upon the surface of this airless place. This ancient ice carries within it hints of not only the history of Enceladus, but also of the deeper mysteries lying at the bottom of the Saturnine gravity well- Impact organics, hints of heavier elements, and all the dust of the young solar system. Overlaying all is a thin film of aerosolized steel and fissionables- memories of the Minute War.
The pressure of the water against the crust is considerable here- As the aging drillships 'Clear Pick' and 'Zib IV' penetrate the crust, microfractures in the ice will vent water vapor up the borehole, coating the ships in frozen jets of frost. By the time the survey is complete, the whole workings will look like a faerie castle, exploding in glittering shards upon final liftoff.