NASA will learn to look for life on the ocean floor
Off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, at a depth of over 1000 meters bubble warm volcanic springs under the surface of the ocean. This deep place can tell a lot about how and where to look for extraterrestrial life. Therefore, NASA and its partners combined ocean and space exploration within SUBSEA project. Lessons learned from this project will be mutually beneficial for both areas and help in the development of future scientific missions throughout the solar system.
Saturn's moon Enceladus and Jupiter's moon Europa almost certainly hidden liquid ocean and hydrothermal activity beneath their icy crusts. Such places on Earth called an analog environment. The purpose SUBSEA - sources that come out of the volcano, forming a new Hawaiian island - Lō'ihi Seamount seamount. For the project it will be an analog of ocean worlds of our solar system.
When the mission "Cassini" Saturn discovered plumes of water erupting from beneath the icy surface Entsellada, the characteristics of the trail gave scientists understand what might be the conditions on the seabed. Among them, temperature, pressure and composition as well as possible hydrothermal activity. Scientists believe that the moon - a good place to search for potential life, because the water interacting with rocks on the seabed, can produce chemical reactions that provide microbial metabolism.
Lō'ihi Seamount - a particularly good place to test the predictions of the hydrothermal systems of the seabed and its ability to support life. Previous studies have focused more on the areas where tectonic plates converge, but in the case of mountain Lō'ihi Seamount from the center of one of the plates follows molten magma. This is a type of volcanic activity, which, according to scientists, can meet on Europe and Enceladus.
SUBSEA During the expedition, which will continue throughout 2018 on board the "Nautilus" vessel, NASA scientists, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the various schools will study the conditions of the existence of life within the marine Lō'ihi Seamount sources. The findings of the mission, the knowledge will deepen our understanding of the range of conditions, which could be life forms on other planets.