NASA: Enceladus has the conditions for life

Scientists from NASA have reported the discovery of new evidence of the icy moon of Saturn, Enceladus conditions to support life. In escaping from the surface into space satellite geysers researchers found hydrogen molecule. The presence of this chemical species may mean that it is time to "pack their bags" and go on Enceladus for the search for extraterrestrial life, because the conditions on the satellite may well correspond to microbial life.

NASA: Enceladus has the conditions for life

"We found some of the components needed to create a habitable environment. Existing data provide compelling arguments in favor of the assumption of the existence of life on this moon, "- says Thomas Zurbuchin, assistant NASA head.

For the new discovery should thank spacecraft "Cassini", circling around Saturn and Enceladus since 2004. Analysis of samples collected "Cassini" two years ago when he flew through the escaping space Enceladus geysers, showed the presence of hydrogen molecules in the composition, which in turn may hint to existing geothermal activity under the surface of the satellite ice crust. Near the sources of terrestrial geysers scientists too often find living organisms, so the researchers suspected that the latter may also exist on Enceladus.

"We do not claim that there is life on Enceladus. We only say that the new find would further strengthens our faith in it, "- explains Jonathan Lanin Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences.

NASA: Enceladus has the conditions for life

The assumption that water, which is under the icy surface of Enceladus is heated by internal heat of the satellite, circulating among the astronomical community for quite some time. And detecting hydrogen in the collected only confirms these guesses samples. Explain it could be the fact that in the depths of Enceladus, likely causes a chemical reaction between certain types of minerals, and the result of these reactions is the production of hydrogen, which was discovered by "Cassini".

The presence of hydrogen might also suggest the presence of and under the methane companion surface derived from carbon dioxide in a chemical process under methanogenesis. As scientists say, the presence of hydrogen and methanogenesis can provide food protozoa microorganisms, as is the case on Earth. That is on Enceladus may be primitive life.

However, NASA convened the representatives of the press conference also noted the volumes of hydrogen that have been detected on the satellite, can also talk about the fact that bacteria that could eat them, in fact, may not be so much. But still an indisputable fact, the researchers note, is that Enceladus has the necessary basic elements to maintain a simple life.

"The discovery of molecular hydrogen (H 2) completes the set, which I would call a basic set of components necessary for the existence of the life that we know of: liquid water, organic molecules, minerals, and readily available source "free" energy, "- explains the Lanin.


"The presence of H 2 Enceladus only once again reinforces the interest in its further investigation and the search for life."

It should be noted that this discovery, associated with Saturn's system does not end there. Scientists working with the Space Telescope "Hubble", they say that have found new evidence indicates that Europe (Jupiter's moon) water geysers are also not uncommon, making it the least attractive targets for exploration and search for life.

Recall that while the "Cassini" is coming to an end, and in September this year orbiting spacecraft will be sent into the atmosphere of Saturn, which completes its existence.