NASA has announced that one of Saturn’s moons has the capacity to support life in a surprising announcement last week. The organization has confirmed that Enceldus as a hydrogen gas plume being pumped into the liquid oceans found beneath the icy surface of the moon.
According to Perf Science, Linda Spilker stated that this is a “very significant finding” as hydogen can be a “potential source of chemical energy for any microbes” that could be living in the oceans under the surface. On Earth, the chemical reactions with hydrogen allows microbes to live in hot cracks on the ocean floor in areas where sunlight cannot reach. As a result, NASA has suggests this could allow life to exist on Enceldus.
One of the lead researchers Hunter Waite has stated that the moon is now high up on the list for places in the solar system that are “showing habitable conditions” for life. He added that “there is chemical potential to support microbial systems” on Enceldus.
The chemical reaction being referred to is a process called “methanogenesis” which creates methane as a byproduct. This methane can then be used by microbes as a source of energy for sustenance. It’s thought that the moon is producing a large amount of energy which could be supporting life.
However, there is currently no way to confirm if the moon is hosting life under the icy surface. What scientists do know is that the moon does allow for chemical reactions which take place on Earth and are known to provide food for microbes.
NASA scientists have reported that they have seen several hydrogen plumes on the moon which are “like a candy store for microbes” which is a very good sign.
We will provide you with updates as NASA continues to explore Saturn’s moon Enceldus.