Jul 21, 2019 | Updated: 09:46 AM EDT

Nutrient-Rich Oceans Enceladus May Make Saturn Livable

Jun 29, 2019 11:24 AM EDT

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Saturn
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Several studies have been conducted about the subterranean oceans of one of Saturn's moons. Although most of the research shows that the conditions in the area are harsh and quite unsuitable for life.

However, new studies reveal that the oceans in this part of the Enceladus may be showing signs of being nutrient-rich, enough to sustain life. At a closer look at the planet, scientists found that it may have the same salt-levels, acidity, and temperatures as the ocean found on planet Earth. Those have been considered valuable factors alongside the presence of a high concentration of organic gases to have led scientists to believe that it is possible for such conditions to allow the survival of microbial life. This is according to the press release made by the University of Washington.

Although early signs of life have yet to be spotted, the research is firm in its suggestion that Enceladus could be one of the Earth's so-called alternatives. If scientists would be in search of an area in space where life could thrive, then this particular moon of the Planet Saturn should be the best choice.

When NASA launched their spacecraft, the Cassini, late last year, they had what seemed like a mix-up. They were able to analyze the chemical content of oceanic plumes that are millions of miles away into space. However, a new study that will be presented in the AbSciCon or the Astrobiology Conference reveals that the initial analysis conducted on the ocean plumes was based on an inaccurate reading of the factors that affected the conditions of the moon.

As it turns out, the new study shows that the oceans in the Enceladus are likely full of gases like hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide. These are the same gases that are found in the Earth's atmosphere. Also, these are the same gases needed to sustain terrestrial life.

"These conditions give microbes what they need to survive. It's like having free lunch all day every day," said Lucas Fifer, lead researcher of the project.

"Although there remain to be a few exceptions, most of the life functions on Earth that is dependent on water and the air could be the same conditions as the research shows on the conditions present in Enceladus," Fifer said.

More research may help scientists find out more about the possible living conditions in one of Saturn's moods. The possibility for life to ever thrive on the planet remains to be just an idea, but it is something that scientists are hoping to prove in the near future.

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