Alien life possible on small Saturn moon, maybe on a Jupiter moon, too 


 

One of Saturn’s small, white moons has the perfect conditions for life in its icy crust-covered ocean.

The Cassini spacecraft, in a fly-by of the moon Enceladus, discovered some of the building blocks for life in plumes of vapor and particles erupting through cracks in the moon’s crust, according to a report from Cassini mission researchers in the journal “Science.”  

>> Read more trending news

The vapor or gas contains hydrogen, one of the essential components of life.

“A form of chemical energy that life can feed on appears to exist on Saturn's moon Enceladus,” a NASA spokesperson said in a news release.

Space agency scientists believe there could be microbial life around hot spots in the moon’s ocean, just like on Earth, where hydrothermal chemical reactions occur deep in the ocean when cold water interacts with molten rocks.

Life on Earth needs three main ingredients to exist and flourish: liquid water, a source of energy for metabolism and the right chemicals, primarily carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur.

>> Related: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft gets up close and personal with Saturn’s rings

“This is the closest we've come, so far, to identifying a place with some of the ingredients needed for a habitable environment,” NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen said.

”These results demonstrate the interconnected nature of NASA's science missions that are getting us closer to answering whether we are indeed alone or not.”

In addition, Hubble Space Telescope researchers reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters that they’ve spotted the same vapor jets erupting from Jupiter’s large, icy moon Europa, which also has a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust.

 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Student of the Week Tecumseh High School
Student of the Week Tecumseh High School

Name: Merrill Cline School: Tecumseh High School Grade: 12 Age: 17 Extra-curricular: AFJROTC Community Service and Drill Team, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Cross Country, Musical, Rotary Speech Contest, Grace Lutheran Church Youth Group, Sailing Claim to fame/honors: OH-881 AFJROTC Squadron Commander, Inspection Team Commander, Cadet of the Year 2017...
Anthem under fire over ER policy
Anthem under fire over ER policy

Several Democratic state lawmakers want to penalize Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for a new policy that does not cover some emergency room visits deemed by the insurer not to be emergencies. Anthem, which has the majority of the market share in the Dayton area, instituted the new ER policy at the first of the year. The policy, which affects only commercial...
Athlete of the Week Tecumseh High School
Athlete of the Week Tecumseh High School

Name: Mitchell Foland School: Tecumseh High School Grade: 12 Sports: Soccer and Tennis Claim to fame/honors: Tennis: 1st team all conference, sectional runner up and district qualifier; Soccer: 1st team all conference Words you live by: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Toughest opponent: Troy Biggest influence: My...
Florida sheriff rejects calls from state lawmaker for his ouster after Parkland school shooting
Florida sheriff rejects calls from state lawmaker for his ouster after Parkland school shooting

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel attacked Rep. Bill Hager’s call for his ouster as “riddled with factual errors, unsupported gossip and falsehoods,” in a response issued late Saturday night. >> Read more trending news  State. Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday calling on him to...
Student boxer dies in amateur charity event, after collapsing during fight
Student boxer dies in amateur charity event, after collapsing during fight

A Tennessee college student died in the middle of an amateur boxing match Friday night in Knoxville, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  University of Tennessee junior Tanner Wray, 20, collapsed on the mat as he was walking to his corner in the second round of his fight in the 38th annual Ace Miller Memorial Boxing Tournament...
More Stories