Saturn's Moon 'Enceladus' Can Host Alien Life — NASA Announcement
Apr 23 2017 by Bridget Leonard
The U.S. space agency NASA has identified a moon orbiting Saturn as a new candidate for potential life. This moon of Saturn likely has a global subsurface ocean.
This process, where microbes break down the hydrogen and release methane as a byproduct, is known as methanogenesis. They concluded that the same kind of "Marsquakes" could also produce hydrogen on Mars, removing a major barrier to life.
Meanwhile, the Hubble telescope captured more evidence of water based plumes on Jupiter's icy moon Europa.
So what exactly could be lurking under the surface?
However, the scientists think that because the planet is young, there may not have been time for life to emerge.
The ingredients scientists look for when it comes to the possibility of life as we know it are liquid water, a source of energy for metabolism and the chemicals carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Hubble has helped show that Europa also harbors its own globe-spanning ocean.
This is important because the high hydrogen count in the plum means methane could be coming from carbon dioxide in Enceladus' ocean.
The findings from the Cassini missionreveal that almost all of these ingredients have been detected on Enceladus, except for phosphorous and sulfur.
"This (molecular hydrogen) is just like the icing on the cake", Waite said.
One ingredient found that led to the groundbreaking theory is hydrogen gas, which is abundantly spewed from a plume.
Cassini, on its final mission before it runs out of fuel and is allowed to burn up its space, was sent diving deep into the jets.
But first, we're going to investigate Europa's habitability. On the other hand, there's no reason to believe it would not be the same on Europa. It's set to launch sometime in the 2020s. "The statistics tell us that they're real".
Have you ever wondered if we are alone in the universe?
Because that region of the solar system traps atomic particles from the sun, the radiation of the area around Jupiter is risky to spacecraft.
On its last deep dive past the moon in October 2015, the spacecraft measured the chemical composition of one of the vapour plumes using its Mass Spectrometer (INMS) instrument - which sniffs gases to determine their make-up. But our planet's mostly liquid surface appears to be an outlier among our system's oceans-most large reservoirs of water exist on planets and moons far from the sun's heat and therefore can exist only beneath a frozen solid crust.
That's fine, really, as Cassini was never meant to study the geysers and thus, doesn't have the necessary instruments to tell us much more. "It's a way of viewing the ocean without drilling into it".
In other words, Enceladus possesses potential evidence of microbial life below its surface. That's why I get excited about Europa. Both are now being hailed as "ocean worlds".