NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
A little frozen Saturn moon, with a diameter that could easily fit inside the state of New Mexico, holds some big promises for the possibility of finding basic alien life in our solar system.
Enceladus is often overshadowed by its larger distant cousin, Europa, which orbits Jupiter and the Jovian moon’s awesome potential has been widely publicized. But Enceladus has one thing Europa doesn’t — it has been visited very closely by a robotic space probe that could take a sniff of its famous water vapor plumes. And this week, there was much excitement about another facet of the moon’s complex subsurface chemistry, thanks to analysis carried out on data gathered by NASA’s Cassini mission.
But before we get into why this new discovery is so cool, let’s take a very quick look at the other signs of Enceladus’ life-giving potential.
The Cocktail Of Life
Being living, breathing creatures on a habitable planet, it may not come as a surprise to you that for biology to evolve, it needs a few basic ingredients. Liquid water is a definite requirement, of course. Heat also helps. Throw some organic chemistry into the mix and we have a party. ...