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NASA announces possibility of life on Enceladus

Brian G Turner

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#6
We'll find out what's lurking on Saturn..
Nasa to make major announcement about Saturn and alien life

My guess is an invasion fleet of magic ducks
The linked article has been updated, and they're now suggesting that they have indirect evidence of life on Enceladus:

It might look like a frozen wasteland, but beneath the inhospitable surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, life could be thriving in warm underground seas, scientists believe.


...

In October 2015 Nasa sent Cassini into a deep dive through one of those plumes and discovered hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

In a report of their findings published today in the journal Science, scientists said that the ‘only plausible’ source for the hydrogen was chemical reactions between warm water and rocks on the ocean floor.

Crucially, if hydrogen is present it can mix with carbon dioxide to form methane, which is consumed by microbes in the deep, dark seas of our own planet.

“Saturn’s moon Enceladus has an ice-covered ocean, and a plume of material erupts from cracks in the ice,” said Professor Hunter Waite, of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Principal Investigator for Cassini’s Mass Spectrometer instrument which detected the hydrogen.

“The plume contains chemical signatures of water-rock interaction between the ocean and a rocky core. We find that the most plausible source of this hydrogen is ongoing hydrothermal reactions of rock containing reduced minerals and organic materials.

“On the modern Earth, geochemically derived fuels such as hydrogen support thriving ecosystems even in the absence of sunlight.”
 

dannymcg

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#7
Brian. Thanks for update on this, I was gonna go to NASA site but no need now.
Bit disappointing IMO - thought there'd have at least been micro organism proof of alien life.
Oh well, back to waiting (sigh)
 

Brian G Turner

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I've also changed the thread title, as NASA are pretty much sticking their necks out here to claim there is almost certainly life on Enceladus, probably based on geothermal systems we have on Earth.
 

mosaix

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#10
Hydrogen found in the plumes from geo-thermal vents on Enceladus therebye adding energy to already known water and chemical building blocks.
 

Lumens

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#11
Very interesting indeed! How will they be able to confirm this though? I assume they would have to land on Enceladus to verify it, which could take a while...
 

Brian G Turner

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#12
It's not a big moon, though:
Enceladus - Wikipedia


However, inevitably people are now talking a lot about Europe. And imagine that - a moon big enough not only to support life, but also different ecosystems? I don't think anyone's suggested that before.
 

Dave

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#13
So, nothing crawling around then, just some "tantalising" evidence of molecular Hշ.

I think they are afraid to stick their necks out too far after the martian meteorite announcements, but given that this came from Cassini, it will be a long while to wait before they can study it any further.
 

thaddeus6th

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#16
Tinkerdan, some say its sentient overlords have come to help assist with UK-EU negotiations.

On a more serious note, finding life would be fascinating. But also increase the chance of impending doom. The problem is the Great Filter, a theoretical barrier that could explain the Fermi Paradox (ie a great problem for life to overcome, because, otherwise, where is it?). Posted similar around the time of a discovery on Mars:

Thaddeus the Sixth: The Fermi Paradox and the Great Filter

Edited extra bit: removed wrongful apostrophe from 'its' and will now flog myself for sinfulness.
 

nixie

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#18
Now I will likely come across as stupid but we are under the impression that for life to be possible oxygen and water is needed.

We Base this assumption on life on planet earth but who is to say that some life forms don't need other things to survive?
What we consider posioness gas maybe the stuff others need, too hot, maybe not for other species.

There maybe alien life forms studying earth, theorising that it can't support life, all that water, oxygen etc would be to toxic.

Now I'll sit back and wait for someone to appear with a straitjacket and take me away.
 

Brian G Turner

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