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Space & Astronomy

Could there be alien life on Enceladus ?

October 26, 2015 | Comment icon 14 comments



A diagram showing the internal structure of Enceladus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is set to embark on its closest and most daring flyby of the moon to date.
Thought to be home to a subterranean ocean of liquid water, Enceladus remains one of the most promising places to look for evidence of extraterrestrial life within our own solar system.

One of its most unique and interesting features is its geysers which periodically spew water vapor, ice grains and unstable chemicals in to the atmosphere at speeds of up to 1,360mph.
Now in an effort to learn more about the composition of these materials, Cassini will be swooping down to within 30 miles of the moon's south pole on October 28th so that it can collect samples.

"This incredible plunge through the Enceladus plume is an amazing opportunity for NASA and its international partners on the Cassini mission to ask, 'Can any icy ocean world host the ingredients for life?'" said Cassini program scientist Dr. Curt Niebur.



Source: Tech Times | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Atuke 7 years ago
But philosophically I don't think it would be alien life. Outside of our solar system and around another sun? Then hell yes. But in our solar system, we are all children of our sun..we just haven't found them yet.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
But philosophically I don't think it would be alien life. Outside of our solar system and around another sun? Then hell yes. But in our solar system, we are all children of our sun..we just haven't found them yet. If it is not from Earth it is, by definition alien. Definition of alien in English:adjective 3 Supposedly from another world; extraterrestrial noun 2 A hypothetical or fictional being from another world Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/alien That it comes from the same solar system is entirely irrelevant. Philosophy is all well and good, but when it wilful... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by psyche101 7 years ago
Being only 500 km's wide, it seems unlikely that life will be there, if there is, it would be more than interesting to see what might develop under such different conditions. Can't imagine anything bigger than a microbe at best.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
It might be alien or it might be Earth life that has adapted to conditions there (from meteoric "infection"). I think it is probably sterile (there is no evidence, just possibility), but if it is there I would say both of these possibilities have about equal (small) probability. That is on the assumption that simple life is not something that happens practically everywhere conditions permit. This is by some thought to be the case, but I would't dare try to assess it now.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Troublehalf 7 years ago
I hope evidence is found to support that there is life there. The main problem is: money. Even if NASA (and Co) went "Yeah, there is ingredients for life there, but we can't 100% confirm there is life without going down there" then that would be the end of it. NASA and Co have no funding to mount that kind of expedition. They DID have plans, but they were shelved in favour of Mars. Which, based on what we've found so far, isn't too bad a decision. However I think the earliest exploration of "potential life" moons is 2035 (and then 5 years travel based on current tech, maybe EMDrive will be wor... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
NASA and Co have no funding to mount that kind of expedition. Not actually true. NASA's budget is bigger than that of Russia's Roscosmos, Europe's ESA and China's CNSA combined. They DID have plans, but they were shelved in favour of Mars. Also not true. NASA has funding for a mission to explore the surface of Europa. Europa should be being investigated by rovers. Rovers are an extraordinarily bad idea. Since any life will be in the ocean below the ice a rover is unlikely to find anything. A system for drilling through the ice and a submarine are what is needed. It's the most likely to hold an... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Goodnite 7 years ago
I'm sure one day NASA will find life on another planet, just not as we know life.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
I'm sure one day NASA will find life on another planet, just not as we know life. Oh no doubt it's out there, but I doubt it is NASA that will find it.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Maureen_jacobs 7 years ago
Hope they don't find Daleks.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
Just a reminder that the Enceladus "deep dive" occurs today! http://earthsky.org/space/does-enceladus-support-life-7-key-facts?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=1f5a27b312-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-1f5a27b312-394012957


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