Apr 25, 2017 | Updated: 06:14 PM EDT

Enceladus May Have Life: NASA Finds Evidence Of Life On Saturn's Moon

Apr 19, 2017 03:01 AM EDT

This color Voyager 2 image mosaic shows the water-ice-covered surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn's icy moons. Enceladus' diameter of just 500 km would fit across the state of Arizona.
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons/NASA/JPL/USGS)

Recently, scientists have confirmed that Enceladus, the white icy moon of Saturn has hydrogen molecules on its surface. This has led the scientists to the hint that there might be the presence of an ocean which is concealed on the satellite. The scientists also take this as a clue that the right conditions for life can be available on Enceladus.

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According to The Verge, the scientists have found the hydrogen molecules to be present in the icy water that erupts from time to time on the Enceladus' surface. From this, the scientists have an idea that there is a good chance of having special submerged water hotspots right beneath the surface of the satellite. These hotspots, as per the scientists, can be the perfect place for small organisms like bacteria to grow.

Like Enceladus' hydrothermal activities, "hydrothermal vents" are found in Earth's oceans, which are home to a number of deep sea creatures. The openings can be looked upon as some kind of geysers that appear along ridges and openings in the bottom surface of the sea. These small areas actually lead to chemical reactions due to the mixing of freezing ocean water with piping hot magma from the core. Various types of minerals and materials are produced due to these chemical reactions, including hydrogen gas, leading to the breeding of microbes on Earth.

According to Mail Online, NASA' s Cassini spacecraft, which has been observing Saturn's moon Enceladus for 13 long years, was the first one to find the spewing of hydrogen from the satellite. That followed the discovery of water in an ocean under the surface of the moon, indicating the existence of similar kind of single-celled organisms that are responsible for the starting of life on Earth.

As per scientists, the main component of life on Enceladus is water, which is an energy source, along with six elements namely carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur. However, the scientists have not been able to find phosphorus and sulfur on Enceladus' surface, though they believe that the rocky core of the moon is potent enough to hold these two elements.

The discovery has been considered as a major one for finding life on the barren satellite. The scientists also opine that the form of life on Enceladus can be quite different from that of the Earth.


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