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NASA Discovers Life-Sparking Energy Source and Molecule at Enceladus


Grim Reaper 6

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A study zooms in on data that NASA’s Cassini gathered at Saturn’s icy moon and finds evidence of a key ingredient for life and a supercharged source of energy to fuel it. Scientists have known that the giant plume of ice grains and water vapor spewing from Saturn’s moon Enceladus is rich with organic compounds, some of which are important for life as we know it. Now, scientists analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini mission are taking the evidence for habitability a step further:

They’ve found strong confirmation of hydrogen cyanide, a molecule that is key to the origin of life. The researchers also uncovered evidence that the ocean, which is hiding below the moon’s icy outer shell and supplies the plume, holds a powerful source of chemical energy. Unidentified until now, the energy source is in the form of several organic compounds, some of which, on Earth, serve as fuel for organisms.

Saturn’s Surprise: NASA Discovers Life-Sparking Energy Source and Molecule at Enceladus (scitechdaily.com)

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