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Waspie_Dwarf

Enceladus Could Be Teeming with Microbes

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Waspie_Dwarf

Enceladus Could Be Teeming with Methane-Belching Microbes

New lab experiments suggest a particular microorganism could be the source of methane emanating from the oceanic depths of Saturn’s icy moon 

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Scientists and science fiction writers alike have long wondered about what forms alien life might take on other worlds. Now researchers have strengthened the case that, at least on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, some alien life might closely resemble a specific type of microbe found deep in our own planet’s seas. Such alien organisms may even be living there now, and if so, could conceivably become the first discovered beyond Earth.

arrow3.gif  Read More: Scientific American

 

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bison
Posted (edited)

A suitably equipped probe orbiting Enceladus might be able to distinguish methane from a biological source, as opposed to a hydrothermal one. The carbon used, and expelled by living things would likely have its isotope signature biased toward the lighter forms of that element.

Flying through and collecting samples of the plumes Enceladus releases would be a much simpler life-discovery mission than drilling through a great deal of ice to reach an ocean below, as has been proposed for Jupiter's moon, Europa.  

Edited by bison
improved paragraph structure

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