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Search for Life in Saturn's Moon Enceladus, as Plumes Occur, Similar to Earth's "Lost City"

Jul 01, 2016 05:28 AM EDT
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Does Saturn's interesting moon, Enceladus really resemble Earth's "Lost City", a hydrothermal vents network in the Atlantic Ocean where life is known to thrive amid extreme cold and darkness?

A study offers an answer. The search for water in other bodies in the Solar System is intense, as the presence of water can mean life may thrive. But so far, only frozen ice water and "potential" underground oceans were evidently recognized. Many moons and dwarf planets are believed to contain underground oceans.

Astronomers and scientists are convinced that when talking about the search for life, Saturn's 6th largest moon, Enceladus is the best place to look, according to a report by the Scientific American.

With Saturn's moon Enceladus, scientists will base the observation from what seems like liquid water on its surface and recorded squirts of liquid water from the moon to space. This data prompted scientist to direct their search for life on Enceladus.

"We want to use chemistry as our guide to looking for signs of life," Christopher Glein, a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute said in an interview with Space.com. A detailed study on Enceladus was presented at the 228th American Astronomical Society in San Diego.

Glein argued that a similarity from the Saturn's moon and the "Lost City" cannot be denied. In the Atlantic, hot water bursts from the ocean floor where life thrives despite the darkness and cold.

NASA also confirms that the water plumes from Saturn's 6th largest moon indeed spew water vapor in space. "Hydrothermal vents spew water and ice particles form an underground ocean beneath the icy crust of Enceladus, said a NASA official in a statement.

The team lead of NASA's Cassini mission, Carolyn Porco, is said to be assembling a group of experts including oceanographers, organic chemists and astrobiologists to initiate a mission entirely tasked to look for life on Enceladus.

 

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