NASA believes Saturn's moon could support alien life

20 April, 2017, 07:36 | Author: Oscar Goodwin

An ice-encrusted moon orbiting Saturn appears to have the conditions necessary for life, NASA announced Thursday, unveiling new findings made by its unmanned Cassini spacecraft.

According to a report from Phys Org, scientists from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) discovered hydrogen erupting from the surface of Enceladus. So far, the Cassini mission has show almost all those ingredients except phosphorus and sulfur in the ocean world.

There are three essential ingredients for life: water, a source of energy for metabolism, and a mixture of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur.

Researchers called its latest discovery a "capstone finding for the mission".

Cassini scientists detected hydrogen molecules - which could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life - in water pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor.

The Cassini mission's deepest dive into the plume took place on October 28, 2015 - and found its composition to be 98 percent water, one percent hydrogen, and a mixture of other molecules including carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia.

This is the closest scientists have come to identifying a place having the ingredients for life, said Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Also on Thursday, NASA researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter's moon Europa, indicating that the ocean-bearing world may be another ideal place to look for alien life.

Scientists suspect that this is what's happening on Enceladus, hence the presence of molecular hydrogen in the plumes.

The Cassini craft was not created to detect signs of life, and scientists did not know the plume existed until they received data showing its existence. Plumes of water vapor spew from cracks at the moon's south pole.

The observations - that Saturn's tiny moon Enceladus emits a hydrogen plume, and Jupiter's moon Europa shows a similar phenomenon - mean life may just exist in our solar system other than on Earth, said the NASA experts. She said her money is on Europa, when asked by a reporter which moon was more likely to host life. The plumes also correspond with a relatively warm region on Europa's surface observed by the Galileo spacecraft. Says Jim Green director of planetary science at NASA.

The Europa Clipper is set to launch in the 2020s and will make close flybys to Europa to study the oceans there to determine whether or not the same thing is happening there as on Enceladus, and importantly whether or not the moon could possibly support life.

Recommended:

  • Tamil Nadu: AIADMK dumps Sasikala and Dinakaran to facilitate merger

    Sasikala will continue to lead the party on paper since the Election Commission is examining the legality of her appointment. Are there more to come? Sasikala's nephew said he was not under compulsion to prove the number of AIADMK MLAs with him.

    Oil Extends Gain Above $52 as Russia Weighs Output Cut Extension

    Brent for June settlement rose 16 cents to $56.39 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 9:05 a.m.in NY . OPEC producers took another 153,000 barrels a day off the market in March as part of its bid to drain the world's oil glut.

    Turkey need not choose between Russia, US: Cavusoglu

    President Obama warned Assad not to cross the "red line". "We are prepared to do more", he said. "Right now I think everyone in the world sees Russian Federation as part of the problem".
  • US VP Pence says to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

    US VP Pence says to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'

    According to an AP report , the fraught situation on the Korean Peninsula is now in a "vicious cycle", Song-Ryol said. Mr Pence also insisted that the long standing USA commitment to South Korea against the North was "iron clad".

    Economic Outlook: IMF projects Luxembourg growth slowdown

    Global trade is back on track, despite of various indicators such as export growth in Asia and high demand for container ships. Among them is "the turn towards protectionism, leading to trade warfare", Obstfeld said in the foreword of the report.
    Half Girlfriend's new romantic track 'Main Phir Bhi Tumko' released

    Half Girlfriend's new romantic track 'Main Phir Bhi Tumko' released

    The video, featuring the lead pair Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, is quite soothing and leaves one mesmerised. The fans wanted the song so badly that the makers chose to release the song prior to the planned date.
  • Intercontinental card data breach hits 1200 hotels

    Intercontinental card data breach hits 1200 hotels

    However, customers can use a lookup tool the company has posted on its website to search for hotels in select state and cities. The list includes companies like Hilton, Trump Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Kimpton.
    Voting starts in Jakarta run-off election for governor

    Voting starts in Jakarta run-off election for governor

    Subianto lost to President Joko Widodo at the 2014 national election and is believed to want to try again in 2019. An Anies voter shows her support in West Cilandak, South Jakarta where the candidate cast his vote.
    Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) Valuation According To Analysts

    Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) Valuation According To Analysts

    If you are accessing this report on another domain, it was stolen and reposted in violation of US & global copyright legislation. Lord, Insider, sold 8,040 with an average share price of $117.99 per share and the total transaction amounting to $948,639.60.
  • Trump on Pats, 'No team has been good this long'

    Trump on Pats, 'No team has been good this long'

    A team spokesman said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but that the club wasn't expected to comment. But let's play cynic here for a second and assume that Brady is using " family matters " as cover to skip the White House.
    Chiefs-Patriots Expected To Open 2017 Season

    Chiefs-Patriots Expected To Open 2017 Season

    On Friday, Devin weighed in on the matter, saying he hopes the Patriots are interested in his brother. "So for me, it was simple. That could be a nice middle ground for each team. "But I usually have a good thing with the Rutgers guys, so you never know".
    Relay for Life of Rogers County this Friday

    Relay for Life of Rogers County this Friday

    Mark and his team look forward to helping families protect the things that are most important - family, home, vehicle and more. Following the meal, two quilts were given to two of the survivors as door prizes. "We also want to educate them about Relay".


Popular

Luis Enrique Vows To 'Attack, Attack, Attack'
Barca boss Luis Enrique will leave the Nou Camp this summer having failed to reach the semi-finals for a second successive season. Juventus comfortably saw out the final stages to register their eighth clean sheet in 10 Champions League games this season.

Fallon: Russia responsible for 'every death' in Syria gas attack
United States politicians have praised Trump for the attack, saying he must be "prepared to take other action" in Syria . Of the USA missile strike on Assad, the senior official said: "We don't yet know if this is a one-time effort or not".

Chelsea masterclass gives Jose his mojo back
The Spain worldwide also contributed by doubling United's advantage with a deflected strike just four minutes after half-time. United were more aggressive, they won second balls and probably wanted it more", he said .

Turkey's supreme election board rejects opposition referendum annulment bid
The two also discussed developments in Syria and the USA response to a chemical attack in Idlib province in early April. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the results of Turkish referendum should be respected.

Time for video refs, says beaten Ancelotti
Real boss Zidane said: "We played 120 minutes and in the end some players have finished a bit worse for wear". Thomas Mueller said he found it hard to blame a referee for a defeat "but today there's no way around it".