Enceladus Reveals The Chemical Energy Required By Life Forms

enceladus

Scientists believe that their instruments have found evidence of elemental hydrogen on Enceladus, Saturn’s moon.

Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, has long captured the imagination of scientists with its icy sheath of water on its surface. As such, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been exploring the ringed planted and its system of moons for over a decade. Now, scientists believe that their instruments have found evidence of elemental hydrogen. This is a key source of chemical energy for primitive life. A new study on the matter was published in the Science journal.

Enceladus Has The Base Compounds Needed for Alien Life Forms

Recently measured plumes of water shooting up from cracks in the surface of Enceladus have scientists intrigued. They believe this to be evidence of liquid water underneath its surface. Also, it could mark the presence of geothermal energy or vents that keep that water full of energy and nutrients. One of the main signatures of these potential nutrients is elemental hydrogen, which provides the necessary chemical energy.Cassini recently passed through one of these plumes, measuring the elements floating above the icy moon. The tests proved positive, adding more to the pile of evidence leading toward the potential for alien life on one of Saturn’s many satellites.

Jonathan Lunine of Cornell University, a study co-author, was quoted as saying:

“Combined with our knowledge that there’s an ocean under Enceladus, that it’s salty, that it contains organics and mineral interactions . . . it really completes the case for the ocean being habitable or being able to sustain life.”

Many biologists believe that the first life on Earth evolved around hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. There, primitive bacteria fed on hydrogen cyanide and still do. It was only much later in the evolutionary scale that things like photosynthesis came to have a role in providing energy for living organisms.

The parallels are fascinating for scientists. As such, pressure is reportedly growing in the academic community for additional, more extensive missions to Saturn and Jupiter’s moons to look for life.

Image Source: Wikimedia
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Karen Jackson has always been passionate about technology. All the way through high-school she immersed herself in computers and web-design. Her ambitious nature helped her become a pro in Adobe Photoshop only by watching online videos and working with the program herself. This is also the program that she mostly uses in the creation of websites at her work-place. Technological innovation and gadgets that push the boundaries of what we are comfortable with have always fascinated her, so expect to see some weird gadget reviews coming from her.