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
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.
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