NASA says saturnal moon may harbor life

Saturn's moon Enceladus

That is the question NASA scientists are asking after an wonderful discovery on Enceladus, a moon of the planet Saturn.

NASA has revealed that Saturn's moon Enceladus is sending vast plumes of water that contain hydrogen out into space, confirming that it is in fact able to support life.

Now, the American space agency has announced that Saturn's moon Enceladus is a habitable world because it has almost all the ingredients to support life.

Researchers published their findings in the journal Science for those interested in digging deeper. "We have not found evidence of the presence of microbial life in the ocean of Enceladus, but the discovery of hydrogen gas and the evidence for ongoing hydrothermal activity offer a tantalizing suggestion that habitable conditions could exist beneath the moon's icy crust". Scientists think this kind of chemical reaction could have been the origin of life on Earth.

Writing in the journal Science, the United States team led by Dr Hunter Waite, from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, concluded: "Our analysis supports the feasibility of methanogenesis as an energy-releasing process that can occur over a wide range of geochemical conditions plausible for Enceladus' ocean".

"The search for life beyond Earth has enthralled humans for ages", Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Cassini uncovered the hydrogen during its final close flyby of Enceladus in 2015, when it dove deeper than ever through its plumes of vapor and particles.

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Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency's Science Mission Directorate, started the news conference off by saying "we can't answer it now, hopefully in the near future, but is there life elsewhere?"

Long story short, scientists believe the chemical imbalance is caused by hot water seeping out from the moon's seafloor (there are liquid oceans beneath the icy surface).

Although researchers have not actually found life on the planet, the hydrogen discovery proves there is a "food source" to support it.

Cassini's mission ends in September, when the probe will descend into Saturn's atmosphere, sending back as much data as it can before it is destroyed by the heat and pressure.

"If we knew that life had started independently in two places in our solar system, then we could be pretty confident that life also got started on some of the tens of billions of planets and moons around other stars in our galaxy".

Scientists have been trying to find out the prime candidates for life within our solar system and all of the necessary things to support life have now been found on one of the moons that orbits Saturn.

NASA is planning for a new mission known as the Europa Clipper mission, which is now slated for the early 2020s. NASA is developing a new spacecraft to take a closer look at that moon called the Europa Clipper.

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