Enceladus, the moon of Saturn, Contains "Almost All" Ingredients for Life, According to a Study.

Kutl Ahmedia

The search for extraterrestrial life just got a lot more interesting, as a team of scientists recently discovered evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus has oceans that contain all the necessary ingredients for life. According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists believe that the ocean of Enceladus contains dissolved phosphorus, an essential component of life.

The paper's co-author, Dr. Christopher Glein of the Southwest Research Institute, stated that Enceladus is one of humanity's top priorities in its search for life in our solar system.

"According to what we've learned, the plume contains nearly all the necessities for life as we know it. While the bioessential element phosphorus has not yet been directly identified, our team discovered evidence of its availability in the ocean beneath the icy crust of the moon "he added.

Using data on the ocean-seafloor system of Enceladus to run models, the research team predicted that there should be as much or more phosphorus than in Earth's seawater. Mr. Glein added, "This means that astrobiology can be more confident than before that the Enceladus ocean is habitable."

It was previously believed that Enceladus may not have sufficient phosphorus levels to support life. Mr. Glein suggested, based on their new study, that a new probe be sent to Enceladus to investigate the ocean's habitability.

"We must return to Enceladus to determine whether a potentially habitable ocean is actually inhabited," he said, citing the study.

According to The Independent, Saturn is not the only nearby planet that may harbor life. The presence of ammonia on Venus has also led some researchers to theorize that the planet's sulfurous atmosphere may harbor extraterrestrial life. While the planet itself is too hot to support life, there may be microscopic organisms in the clouds that produce ammonia to neutralize the acidity, just as animals do on Earth.


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