Is there life on Saturn’s moon?  Check out what was found on Enceladus
  • The researchers point out that subglacial oceans are common here Solar Systemwhich increases the number of potential life enhancing realms.
  • In the case of Enceladus, the high phosphate concentrations are due to the solubility of phosphate minerals found on this moon.
  • Scientists suggest that a similar phenomenon may occur on other icy worlds Solar SystemLike Europa and Titan.
  • The next step is to return to Enceladus to find out if the ocean is really inhabited.

Details of these pioneering discoveries have been published in the journal Nature.

Life on Saturn’s moon?

Latest discovery bywith the Cassini spacecraft He reveals that Saturn’s moon Enceladus contains phosphates that come from an ocean hidden beneath its icy surface. The data provided by the probe over 13 years of studying the Saturn system enabled scientists at the Southwest Research Institute to discover the presence of phosphates on Enceladus.

In 2020 (the results were published in 2022), with the help of geochemical modeling, we predict that Enceladus’ ocean will be abundant in phosphorus. Now we have found large amounts of phosphorus in samples of ice coming out of geysers that gush from the subsurface ocean.

says Dr. Christopher Glenn, author of a new research paper published in the journal Nature.

In ice samples released from geysers, they were examined by an analyzer cosmic dust On board the probe, the presence of sodium phosphate was detected. These notes In conjunction with laboratory experimentssuggesting that phosphates may be present in the hidden ocean beneath the ice sheet.

Researchers confirm that these substances are necessary for life on Earth, incl to make DNA RNA, energy transfer, and cell membrane formation.

In the ocean of Enceladus, which forms the geysers, we found phosphate concentrations at least 100 times higher than those found in Earth’s oceans. It’s one thing to expect phosphates to exist, but to actually find evidence of their existence is very exciting. This is an amazing result for astrobiology and an important step forward in the search for life beyond Earth

explains Dr. Glenn.

A breakthrough in planetary science

The team of scientists who studied and described this phenomenon recalls this discovery The presence of oceans under the surface ice sheet On giant planets like Europa, Titan and Enceladus, and on distant bodies like Pluto, was one of the most important developments in planetary science in the last 25 years. This discovery has devastating consequences.

Scientists are looking for a second Earth

Earth-like worlds With surface oceans, they must be at a sufficient distance from their host stars to maintain a temperature that would allow liquid water to exist. However, globes with inner oceans can occur over much wider ranges of distances, which Increases the number of potential life enhancing worlds across the galaxy.

Geochemical experiments and models indicate that these higher phosphate concentrations are due to the greater solubility of phosphate minerals found on Enceladus. It is possible that similar processes are occurring in other oceanic, icy worlds in the solar system beyond Jupiter.

explains Dr. Glenn.

According to the researchers, the latest discovery now allows us to conclude that Enceladus’ ocean meets the most important criterion for sustaining life. It will be the next step Back to EnceladusAnd find out if this life-friendly ocean is actually inhabited by any of them forms of life.

Source:, PAP

#space dust #solar system #probes in space


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