Source : NASA
Cassini mission started with the optimism that it will unveil a lot of secrets about our solar system. Over the years, the mission didn’t disappoint and earlier, scientists have confirmed the discovery of hydrogen in the plumes on Enceladus. This announcement is significant as it confirms that there’s a source of energy for microbes in the oceans of Enceladus.
Previously we’d known that Enceladus has two of the three required things to sustain life in form of water and right chemicals. And the latest discovery means that there is a source of energy thus fulfilling all the requirements to sustain life. For example on earth, in deep ocean floors, there’s a source of energy in form of hydrothermal vents which are responsible for creating the base of food chain. As Enceladus’ ocean possess similar environment, similar communities might exist in the ocean.
This news comes along with the confirmation that another moon from our solar system, Europa also contains Plumes similar to those of Enceladus and it’s unknown if the moon’s oceans also contain Hydrogen. However, with the Europa Clipper mission set to launch in 2022, there’s a chance of similar discovery.
NASA is currently set to launch Europa Clipper mission around 2022 and it’s unknown when a mission to Enceladus will be launched. However, NASA is considering the possibility of Enceladus Life Finder which will fly through Enceladus’ plumes for several times to collect more data of the environment.
While we have to wait several years to find out more, latest discovery of energy source in Enceladus means that we might see missions in future to discover more about our solar system.