Extraterrestrial Life On Saturn’s Icy Moon May Flourish

Extraterrestrial Life On Saturn’s Icy Moon May Flourish
Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists have been searching for extraterrestrial life for decades. Thanks to the data sent from the Cassini spacecraft that plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 20 of last year, Saturn’s natural satellites were many times at the center of attention when it came to searching for alien life. A recent paper suggests that deep-sea microbes thrive in conditions that are similar to those on the small moon Enceladus, suggesting that extraterrestrial life on Saturn’s icy moon could be present.

The findings from the paper once again put Saturn’s moons at the center of attention, Enceladus, particularly, which is now among one of the top candidates that could harbor life in our solar system. NASA’s scientists said last year that during a flyby of Enceladus by the Cassini spacecraft, the spacecraft successfully identified water, ice, and most of the chemicals essential for habitability. The spacecraft also confirmed the presence of hydrogen, which means that there are active energy sources present on the ocean floor, which points to possible extraterrestrial life on Saturn’s icy moon.

On Earth, there are microorganisms known as methanogenic archaea. These microbes use carbon dioxide and hydrogen to release methane as a byproduct. The spacecraft’s data also reveals the presence of methane, although it was impossible to determine whether the traces of methane are attributed to biological or geochemical reactions.

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Scientists now have conducted tests to see whether some of the microorganisms located in the ocean vents of Earth could survive the conditions that match those on Enceladus. In theory, scientists discovered that they can. As per the