According to reports, NASA may have found an ‘alien habitable zones’ on one of Saturn’ moons. The Space Agency will announce their discovery in a press conference at 14:00 ET (19:00 GMT) today.
According to reports, NASA may have discovered a ‘potential alien habitat’ in our solar system, specifically on one of Saturn’s moons.
The scheduled press conference is said to reveal a ‘finding’ that will ‘help inform future ocean world exploration’.
However, a former NASA employee suggests that the space agency will announce that they have discovered traces of ‘chemical activity’ within an alien ocean on Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn’s, and the place where according to experts, life may already exist.
In the announcement NASA wrote:
“These new discoveries will help inform future ocean world exploration – including NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission planned for launch in the 2020s – and the broader search for life beyond Earth.”
However, Keith Cowing, an analyst for Astrobiology and former NASA employee firmly believes that the space agency will announce the discovery of ‘chemical activity’ inside of hydrothermal vents on the icy moon of Saturn.
Mr. Cowing wrote in Astrobiology: “On Thursday NASA will announce evidence that hydrothermal activity on the floor of an ice-covered ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus is most likely creating methane from carbon dioxide.”
Mr. Cowing added: “The process is indicative of possible habitable zones within the ocean of Enceladus. Before we go any further, ‘habitable’ does not mean ‘inhabited’.”
Enceladus—the sixth-largest moon of Saturn—is mostly covered by fresh, clean ice, making it one of the most reflective bodies of the solar system. Interestingly, experts believe that Encelauds is the ideal place in the solar system where we could find the first traces of alien life forms.
Enceladus was discovered on August 28, 1789, by William Herschel, but little was known about it until the two Voyager spacecraft’s, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, passed nearby in the early 1980s.
Astronomers argue that Enceladus may hold the necessary conditions for life as we know it. Experts claim that watery jets, hydrothermal activity, and a global ocean are buried beneath its icy crust.
The discovery of hydrothermal vents on Enceladus would be beyond fascinating, as experts believe that life on Earth may have started in such deep-sea crevasses.
Mr. Cowing explained: “Hydrothermal vents have been found in many locations on Earth where superheated water from deep within the planet reaches the ocean. Due to the temperatures and pressure of these vents, some very interesting chemistry occurs. Many astrobiologists have suggested that such hydrothermal vents may be where life first originated on our planet.”
Hydrothermal vents on Earth are home to microorganisms that have managed to adapt in order to absorb energy from chemicals rather than the sun.
Mr. Cowing added: “In turn, larger life forms feed upon these microorganisms and entire communities can arise. Unlike the ecological interactions we are used to seeing on Earth’s surface where life either depends directly on sunlight or eats life forms that depend on sunlight, these deep hydrothermal communities are able to operate without any energy input from the sun.”
Mr. Cowing believes that NASA will announce that these organisms exist inside our own solar system.
“NASA bases this determination on the amount of hydrogen in plumes emanating from the moon’s South Pole. The large amount of hydrogen is strongly suggestive of a constant hydrothermal process wherein the ocean under the surface of Enceladus is interacting with rock and organic compounds,” concluded Mr. Cowing.
Featured image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute