NEWS FEED
Zoom
TOP 5

NASA: Nearby ocean worlds could be best bet for life beyond Earth


NASA has new evidence that the most likely places to find life beyond Earth are Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moon Enceladus. In terms of potential habitability, Enceladus particularly has almost all of the key ingredients for life as we know it, researchers said, APA reports quoting CNN.

 

New observations of these active ocean worlds in our solar system have been captured by two NASA missions and were presented in two separate studies in an announcement at NASA HQ in Washington today.
 
Using a mass spectrometer, the Cassini spacecraft detected an abundance of hydrogen molecules in water plumes rising from the "tiger stripe" fractures in Enceladus' icy surface. Saturn's sixth-largest moon is an ice-encased world with an ocean beneath. The researchers believe that the hydrogen originated from a hydrothermal reaction between the moon's ocean and its rocky core. If that is the case, the crucial chemical methane could be forming in the ocean as well.
"Now, Enceladus is high on the list in the solar system for showing habitable conditions," said Hunter Waite, leader of the Cassini Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer team at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and lead author of the Enceladus study.
 
"The presence of hydrogen established another reference point saying there is hydrothermal activity inside this body, and that's interesting because we know in our own oceans, those are very important places that are teeming with life, and they are probably one of the earliest places where life happened on Earth."
 
Additionally, the Hubble Space Telescope showed a water plume erupting on the warmest part of the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons with an icy crust over a salty liquid water ocean containing twice as much water as Earth's seas. This is the second time a plume has been observed in this exact spot, which has researchers excited that it could prove to be a feature on the surface.
 
"This is significant, because the rest of the planet isn't easy to predict or understand, and it's happening for the second time in the warmest spot," said Britney Schmidt, second author on the Europa study.

Related news releases

VİDEO NEWS

PHOTO NEWS

  • Rouhani says to boost Iran's ties with Russia in new term
  • Earthquake rocks Turkey
+2
EXCHANGE RATE
FOREX
/ 28 May, 2017

USD
1.702
 
EUR
1.9062
 
RR
0.03