NASA has made an announcement indicating that there’s a likelihood of there being alien life in our solar system. One of the moons that orbit Saturn has been found to have all the essentials that are necessary to support life.
The chemicals on Enceladus are also found on Earth and they indicate the presence of life, suggesting that there’s life beneath the freezing shell. Enceladus has been thought of as an ideal and prime candidate for life in the solar system. Scientists support this suggestion due to the subsurface ocean that covers Enceladus.
New research that has been conducted indicates that the moon has a chemical energy source which is capable of supporting life. Cassini space unveiled the new findings after it flew through a huge plume of water that was being shot out of the surface of Enceladus. The spacecraft took readings of the water and sent them back to Earth for further analysis.
The analysis found that there’s evidence of molecular hydrogen in those jets of vapor. Researchers claim that molecular hydrogen could only have come from hydrothermal reactions between hot rocks and water underneath the moon’s icy crust.
The same process operates on Earth and provides energy for the ecosystems found around hydrothermal vents. The hydrogen is crucial to most of the life forms on Earth since they rely on it for fuel. There’s also a likelihood that the life on Enceladus would likely consume that hydrogen and then release methane. It’s not a surprise that methane has been found out to be coming from Enceladus.
Large amounts of carbon dioxide were found to be in the material that Cassini flew through. Methanogenesis is a reaction that sustains microbes in similar dark, undersea environments on Earth. The process heavily relies on molecular hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
Scientists have revealed that three ingredients are needed for life on a planet, this includes water, organic molecules and a source of energy. Fortunately, the first two have been detected on Enceladus before, but the new discovery means that all three key components are there, with the addition of a fuel source for keeping that life alive.
Lewis Dartnell, who is an astrobiology researcher at the University of Westminster made a statement saying that its now evident that there’s not only a warm, wet environment but now they’ve also realized that there’s food for life on Enceladus. The new findings suggest that all of the pieces are in place for an ecosystem to thrive. A leading scientist branded the new research as an important advance in assessing the habitability of Enceladus.