NASA announces that Saturn's moon could support life


They found that there is a plume coming from the moon's surface in an area that had shown plumes in the past, NASA specialists speculated that this may mean the same thing is happening on Europa as is happening on Enceladus. These new findings show that Enceladus "has almost all of these ingredients for habitability".

Enceladus could contain all the necessary ingredients for life - water, a source of energy and essential elements such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur.

The findings were reported Thursday in the journal Science by a team from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

NASA scientists announced the findings of two so-called 'Ocean Worlds' in our solar system.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has detected hydrogen molecules in the geysers shooting off the moon Enceladus, possibly the result of deep-sea chemical reactions between water and rock that could spark microbial life.

The presence of hydrogen in the ocean on this moon of Saturn means that microbes - if they exist there - could use it to obtain energy by combining it with carbon dioxide dissolved in the water there, scientists said.

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In fact, Enceladus may have methane breathing alien life already there.

Lead scientist Dr Hunter Waite said the result showed the moon's environment would be "like a candy store for microbes" with a constant and plentiful food source. "Liquid water was key to the development of life on Earth, so these discoveries whet the appetite to know whether life exists everywhere water is present" (pun, probably, intended).

A discovery of molecular hydrogen was made in October 2015 - but has only now come to light - when NASA's Cassini spacecraft took samples as it passed 30 miles (49 km) above the moon's southern pole.

Cassini has no instruments that can detect life, so it will be up to future robotic visitors to seek out possible life on Enceladus, the scientists said. This moon of Saturn likely has a global subsurface ocean.

If or since hydrogen was found in the oceans of the moon, in the oceans, then this could be a potential source of chemical energy for life that might be found there - if any exists there. "The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 directs NASA to continue to search for life and advance the science of astronomy, astrophysics and astrobiology". Both recordings popped up in a location that could be linked to a crack in its surface, which NASA's Galileo spacecraft found in the 1990s. "We're finding new environments", said NASA's Planetary Science Division director, James Green. The Europa Clipper mission, set to send a probe and lander to Jovian moon, is scheduled to launch sometime in the next decade.