Few weeks earlier, NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft started its dive into Saturn’s rings to gather more data before its fuel runs out. Interestingly, scientists from NASA have just received a promising sign that the planet’s moon Enceladus might just contain source of life beneath its icy surface.
Earlier on Thursday, NASA revealed that Cassini’s data reveals that the chemical reaction going beneath the icy surface of the moon might provide sustainable conditions for life.
Talking about the findings in Enceladus, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said, “This is the closest we’ve come, so far, to identifying a place with some of the ingredients needed for a habitable environment.”
Back in 2015, researchers speculated that if Enceladus contain warm ocean environment beneath its icy shell, it might be suitable to sustain life using the energy derived from chemical energy from ocean floor. If such speculations hold true, then the ocean might have similar environments to Earth’s ocean floor.
Talking about the ocean surface, NASA’s senior astrobiology scientist said, “Most of us would be excited with any life, and certainly when we’re talking about the sources of energy, this is to feed the base of a food web. So we’re going to start with bacteria and if we get lucky, maybe there’s something that’s larger.”
“[The] fact that that we can measure such high concentrations of hydrogen and carbon dioxide mean that there might not be life there at all, and if there is life, it’s not very active. … We have this buildup of food that’s not being used. And part of that could be that we think Enceladus might be fairly young.”
After Cassini’s mission comes to an end, it’s unclear if NASA will send another spacecraft to the moon. However, if the mission reveals more promising data in the coming months, it’s highly likely that the space agency will send another spacecraft to Enceladus.
Featured Image: NASA