Saturn’s sixth-largest moon Enceladus, which was first discovered back in 1789 by William Herschel, is home to an ice-covered sea which might get warm enough to support extraterrestrial life, according to scientists who published their findings in the journal Nature.
The researchers indicated in their study that the icy moon is exhibiting definite signs of hydrothermal activity. They described the activity in the waters, which are known to have a sub-surface ocean of salty water, as a boost the moon’s potential to harbor life.
In an attempt to convey the possibility of what life on the moon might entail, The Washington Post referenced the Ross Ice Shelf discovery back in January in which researchers plunged a probe into the frigid waters and allowed it to sink to the bottom of the sea, which the researchers noted in Scientific American to have appeared “rocky, like a lunar surface.” While no one expected to find life beyond microbes beneath the ice in the cold waters, which are soaked in perpetual darkness, scientists discovered a translucent fish.
The fish was swimming more than 2,400 feet below the ice and more than 500 miles off the shelf’s edge.
Johns Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington D.C., was quoted by Discovery News as having said that the “findings add to the possibility that Enceladus, which contains a subsurface ocean and displays remarkable geologic activity, could contain environments suitable for living organisms.”
These findings add to the possibility that Enceladus, which contains a subsurface ocean and displays remarkable geologic activity, could contain environments suitable for living organisms […] The locations in our solar system where extreme environments occur in which life might exist may bring us closer to answering the question: are we alone in the universe.
NASA’s Glenn Research Center released a sneak peek of a robotic submersible concept designed by the Innovative Advanced Concepts program to be a planetary exploration vehicle intended to explore the liquid methane lakes of Saturn’s Titan moon.
Do you think it’s time to send a robotic submersible like the Titan submarine to explore the potentially habitable sea on Enceladus?