Saturn’s Moon a Possible Host for Alien Life Says NASA

moon

Hiding in the shadow of the great ringed gas giant of Saturn is a small unassuming moon by the name of Enceladus. But on this small planet, NASA  has said that they have found signs of a vast ocean hidden under a crust of ice. The icy water could signal that it may be possible for the moon to host alien life.

In 2005, Enceladus decided to put on a show. The small moon sent out a number of great plumes of mineral dense water into the surrounding atmosphere. These waves were forced out of “tiger stripe” cracks close to the southern pole. Scientists hypothesized that these plumes could be the result of a vast ocean hidden under the ice, but at the time, they could not be sure.

Now they have been able to use new data from NASA’s Cassini probe to analyze the possibility that there is an ocean on the moon. Cassini passed over the moon several times and scientists measured the gravity using the Doppler Method; which is said to be based on the wavering signal coming from the probe. Cassini was tracked via how much change there was in the signal, in response to the gravitational pull. If the signal fluctuated it would indicate that there is a denser area beneath the ice. As Cassini moved towards the south pole, the signal began to weaken in response to a stronger pull from the moon. The increased density can only be explained as being the result of something beneath the ice that is heavier in that area. This, along with the waterworks display, has led scientists to believe that there may be a large sea around the south pole. This ocean has been estimated to be around the size of Lake Superior.  For any kind of life that we know to be possible, water is needed.  The fact that there is water present  on this small moon of Saturn, suggests that Enceladus could host alien life.

On the whole, Enceladus is a tough sell as any kind of tourist destination. It is a small, frozen wasteland, only about 314 miles across. It would seem to be too small to hold a vast reservoir of water under its icy shell, but it does have a rather special attribute to generate heat. Enceladus is stuck in a three-way orbit between Saturn and Dione, a larger moon. Dione pulls on Enceladus, forcing its orbit into an elliptical ring. But it is this pull from its two neighbours that allows poor Enceladus to generate enough heat to make water possible.

However, Enceladus is not the only moon to exhibit the possible conditions to support alien life. Jupiter’s moon Europa, is also thought to house water under its skin. It has the added bonus of showing signs of volcanic activity in the past as well. Jupiter’s other bosom buddies Ganymede and Callisto also have showed signs that they may have water. But, the conditions on Enceladus are primed to create life, as the other moons have water that is sitting on levels of underwater ice, whereas Saturn’s baby moon has water over the silicate core. Silicate is known to be a mix of salts, phosphorous and sulfur, which, in the right cauldron, could allow life to bloom.

The probe Cassini arrived in the region of Saturn in 2004 and is  said to be scheduled to crash into the gas giant in 2017. Scientists are now hoping to devote a large part of its remaining time to further exploration of Enceladus. They are hoping to find out more to support NASA’s theory that the moon could possibly host alien life.

By Sara Watson

Sources:

The Scientific American
NASA
LA Times

3 Responses to "Saturn’s Moon a Possible Host for Alien Life Says NASA"

  1. Bob   April 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Well, those life-forms’ countdown clock to extinction just started ticking.

    Reply
  2. Rick   April 4, 2014 at 8:19 am

    lol

    Reply
  3. Babu G. Ranganathan   April 4, 2014 at 7:39 am

    HAVING THE RIGHT CONDITIONS AND RAW MATERIALS FOR LIFE doesn’t mean that life can originate by chance.

    Proteins can’t come into existence unless there’s life first! Miller, in his famous experiment in 1953, showed that individual amino acids (the building blocks of life) could come into existence by chance. But, it’s not enough just to have amino acids. The various amino acids that make-up life must link together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence, to form functioning protein molecules. If they’re not in the right sequence the protein molecules won’t work. It has never been shown that various amino acids can bind together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is made up of many millions of various protein molecules.

    The probability of just an average size protein molecule arising by chance is 10 to the 65th power. Mathematicians have said any event in the universe with odds of 10 to 50th power or greater is impossible! The late great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated that the the odds of even the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is 10 to the 40,000th power! How large is this? Consider that the total number of atoms in our universe is 10 to the 82 power.

    Also, what many don’t realize is that Miller had a laboratory apparatus that shielded and protected the individual amino acids the moment they were formed, otherwise the amino acids would have quickly disintegrated and been destroyed in the mix of random energy and forces involved in Miller’s experiment.

    There is no innate chemical tendency for the various amino acids to bond with one another in a sequence. Any one amino acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason at all for why the various amino acids bond with one another in a precise sequence in the cells of our bodies is because they’re directed to do so by an already existing sequence of molecules found in our genetic code.

    Of course, once you have a complete and living cell then the genetic code and biological machinery exist to direct the formation of more cells, but how could life or the cell have naturally originated when no directing code and mechanisms existed in nature? Read my Internet article: HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM.

    A partially evolved cell would quickly disintegrate under the effects of random forces of the environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years for chance to make it complete and living! In fact, it couldn’t have even reached the partially evolved state.

    Please read my popular Internet articles listed below:

    ANY LIFE ON MARS CAME FROM EARTH,
    SCIENCE AND THE ORIGIN OF LIFE,
    NATURAL LIMITS OF EVOLUTION,
    HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM,
    WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2nd Edition),
    NO HALF-EVOLVED DINOSAURS,
    DOES GOD PARTICLE EXPLAIN UNIVERSE’S ORIGIN?

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION

    Sincerely,
    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. theology/biology)

    Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

    * I have had the privilege of being recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who In The East” for my writings on religion and science, and I have given successful lectures (with question and answer time afterwards) defending creation from science before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities.

    Reply

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