Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by francopoli
francopoli  ·  88 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Best evidence yet for alien life on Saturn's moon found by scientists

Not really. For life as we know it you need a few very simple things. First, you need liquid water. Gotta be liquid; ice and vapor won't work. Second, you need carbon. Third, you need a source of non-carbon atoms, for example at the bottom of a body of water. Finally, you need an energy source.

Enceladus has all of that. There is a pool of water about the size of the Indian Ocean. There is an energy source keeping this water liquid for long periods of time. Cassini flew through the plumes and found evidence that this water is in contact with stone/rock, similar to what we find at the bottom of the earth's oceans.

And the new data is that in those plumes, was organic molecules.

Did they find life? Nope. But all the stuff we would expect to find on a place where life can exist is all there. We need to go back to Enceladus, land, and see if anything is alive in that puddle.




b_b  ·  87 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think even if life does not exist on Enceledus that these extraordinary findings prove how ordinary water combined with organics probably is. We have now found water and complex organics on two celestial bodies (exclusive of Earth) out of how many in the solar system that are large enough to form a complex environment? A dozen tops? So we're looking at a quarter of celestial bodies having the ingredients for life. While I would cry to hear about discovering life on Enceledus, I think that these data are so important because they put to rest any remaining conception that there's something overly special about the conditions on Earth.

KapteinB  ·  87 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Did they find life? Nope. But all the stuff we would expect to find on a place where life can exist is all there.

Exactly. They've found zero evidence for alien life on Enceladus, but they've found good evidence for all the known prerequisites for life. In my opinion the headline should reflect that.

    We need to go back to Enceladus, land, and see if anything is alive in that puddle.

Most definitely. A few years back I heard NASA was considering sending a probe to drill through the ice of Europa to search for life in its ocean, so they're already working on the required technology. These are exciting times for space exploration!