There may be extraterrestrial life on Saturn’s moon

Saturn's moon Enceladus may contain extraterrestrial life
Although Enceladus and Saturn's rings are largely made up of water ice, they show very different characteristics. The small ring particles are too tiny to retain internal heat and have no way to get warm, so they are frozen and geologically dead. Enceladus, on the other hand, is subject to forces that heat its interior to this very day. This results in its famous south polar water jets, which are just visible above the moon’s dark, southern limb, along with a sub-surface ocean. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Today’s science geek fuel is an Ars Technica interview with space activist, Ariel Waldman. She argues that we should look for extraterrestrial life on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.

Enceladus is Saturn’s 6th largest moon and it’s covered by ice. It turns out that there is a watery ocean under that ice. According to an article in Nature titled “Icy Enceladus hides a watery ocean“:

Planetary scientists have found an ocean buried beneath the south pole of the Saturnian moon Enceladus by studying tiny anomalies in the flybys of the Cassini spacecraft. The discovery, which helps to explain earlier observations of geysers, makes Enceladus only the fourth Solar System body found to have a water ocean — making it a potential cradle for life.

In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spotted a plume of water vapour and ice spraying from the south pole of the 500-kilometre-wide body. The new findings show the likely source of this water: a 10-kilometre-thick layer of liquid — similar to the depth of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in Earth’s oceans — covering much of Enceladus’s southern hemisphere and capped by 30 to 40 kilometres of ice.

If you are a space geek, add the Ars interview to your “Watch Later” list and enjoy at your convenience:

Featured image: Water World, courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

By Paul

Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

2 comments

  1. There may be extraterrestrial life on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. j.mp/2eSViRu – Interesting interview with @arielwaldman.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.