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Fri Oct 4, 2019, 12:26 AM

The hunt for life on Saturn's moon Enceladus just got a big boost

Mike Wehner @MikeWehner
October 2nd, 2019 at 5:50 PM

Of all the worlds in our solar system that may harbor some form of life, Saturnís moon Enceladus may be the most exciting. The moon is a vast water ocean covered with a thick sheet of ice, and we know that liquid water is trapped below because cracks in the surface allow that water to spew into space.

Now, data from NASAís Cassini mission has revealed that ice crystals originating from Enceladus include organic compounds that could offer a clue as to whether life is hiding deep within the planet. The discovery is the subject of a new paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Without actually visiting Enceladus itís incredibly difficult to identify the presence of life below the surface. So, scientists have to look for the tiniest clues that hint that life is possible, and organic compounds that make up amino acids are part of that complex puzzle.

NASAís Cassini probe was able to study some of the material ejected from the moonís ice cracks using its Cosmic Dust Analyzer. Last year, an examination of the data returned by the probe revealed the presence of large organic molecules in material from the moon, which was a tantalizing glimpse into a potentially life-sustaining system at work in the massive ocean beneath the ice.


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Reply The hunt for life on Saturn's moon Enceladus just got a big boost (Original post)
Judi Lynn Oct 4 OP
Vogon_Glory Oct 4 #1
RT Atlanta Oct 6 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2019, 06:53 AM

1. It's possible

If there isnít light, thereís signs of tectonic activity. Where thereís tectonic activity, thereís heat. And where thereís heat and organic molecules and liquid water, thereís the possibility of life.

Not the possibility of complex life forms like on Earth, but perhaps microbes.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 10:06 PM

2. I love this kind of astro science

I really hope that I live to see the day that life - even microbial - is confirmed to definitively exist in our universe and hopefully in our solar system. Whether it be on this moon, or one of the Jovian moons.

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