#Saturn #Cassini #moon #planet #Enceladus #extraterrestrialLife #space
Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus is suspected of having a habitable environment for microbes or other alien life. On earth at least, hydrothermal vents trhive with microbial life, offering up the potential that icy moons far away from Earth could be habitable.
Cassini, a spacecraft in its final months after 13 years of exploring Saturn and its moons, found that levels of Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen and Methane measured in the Enceladus plume were out of equilibrium, an imbalance that could provide an energy source that organisms could tap into for food. Since the atmosphere has Hydrogen in adequate quantities, it would have been released when the water molecules (two Hydrogen atoms and an Oxygen atom makes a water molecule) are broken down. Hence, the probability of microbial life is high.
Although the moon has an icy exterior, with the ice sheet going beneath the surface for up to 5 kms, the substance below it is liquid water. The tidal forces of Saturn pulling and squeezing Enceladus generates enough heat to melt the ice beneath. Enceladus is believed to have a global ocean.
Glad to know that there is a possibility of life somewhere other than Earth, although life at Enceladus does seem to be at the very initial steps.