It always has been a challenging and just like a fantasy factor for the scientists to spot life possibilities on other planets and celestial bodies because finding the precise composition of all three fundamental factors for essential life in any other planet rather than Earth was still far-flung from reality. However, now it seems that NASA has finally reached a major milestone in the process of finding the potentiality of life can exist outside Earth.
Few weeks after declaring that it has found new exoplanets in a distant solar system are potential to host extraterrestrial life; the US-based independent space agency NASA on Thursday has made another major announcement according to which Saturn’s sixth largest moon may host life beyond Earth. As per the announcement of NASA, there are high possibilities that extraterrestrial life beyond Earth may exist in our own solar system, as it has found the evidence of factors that can support microbe life on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.
Sustentation of life firmly depends on three fundamental factors like liquid water, a reliable source of energy for metabolism, and chemicals like hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur. And surprisingly, the new findings of NASA have reportedly found all three essential elements in Saturn’s moon Enceladus and planets and Jupiter’s moon Europa. According to researchers at NASA, Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon Europa and Saturn’s sixth-largest moon Enceladus have large prospective to support to life, as they contain all the necessary ingredients required to host life, just like Earth.
Here are ten must-known factors about the new announcement, made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) regarding the perspective of life on Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon Europa and Saturn’s sixth-largest moon Enceladus. Have a look:
NASA’s Cassini mission and Hubble Space Telescope have provided new details about frozen ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn and paved new paths for the discovery of life beyond Earth.
While NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft which is inching closer to its end, because of running out of fuel, has provided new insights about Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Hubble Space Telescope has highlighted the perspective about Jupiter’s moon Europa.
As declared by NASA, Saturn’s Enceladus as a higher probability of hosting extraterrestrial life in contrast to Jupiter’s Europa as it seems to accommodate a particular form of chemical energy on which microbes can nourish.
Cassini spacecraft also has found a large quantity of hydrogen molecules in water plumes, located in Enceladus – the small and icy moon of Saturn which is presented a billion miles beyond Sun than Earth.
Enceladus hosts oceans of water under its icy crust, and NASA believes that the hydrogen molecules are being originated from a hydrothermal reaction, going in between the ocean and the rocky core of the celestial body. As expected by the scientists, involved in Cassini project, if there are hydrogen molecules, then methane – a pivotal element for life – can also exist in the oceans as well.
As said by NASA, on Earth, these hydrothermal chemical reactions allow the development of microbes in hot cracks, found in the depth ocean floors, where sunshine cannot land at, and this clearly indicates that the moon of Saturn could also cultivate life.
Earliest forms of life on earth are thought to have taken place from such hot cracks, and hence Cassini Scientists hope Saturn’s moon also to host life.
According to Hunter Waite, lead author of the Cassini study, “Although detecting an actual life form on Enceladus has yet not been possible, but we have found a food source which can nurture the life beyond earth. It is just like a candy store for microbes.”
On the other hand, Jupiter’s Moon – Europa also has a plume, which was photographed by Satellites recently. The column rises about 62 miles or 100 kilometres higher than the surface, while in 2014, the longitude of the plume was estimated to be 30 miles or roughly 50 kilometres. The temperate region of Europa is expected a thermal anomaly located on slippery surface of the moon, close to the plume which was imaged by Galileo spacecraft in the 1990s.
As expected by NASA, if the warm spots and plumes are connected with each other then the water escaping from the icy surface may keep the surroundings warm and hence could be altering the surface granules, enabling them to preserve heat much longer than the nearby landscape.