Saturn Moon Just Got More Interesting in Hunt for Alien Life
Particles spewed from its ice-encrusted ocean hint at the same kind of chemistry that might have jump-started Earth’s biology.
Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus has tantalized scientists for years as a place where life could exist (in theory), and the case is now stronger with new evidence of hot springs beneath the moon's icy crust.
The evidence, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, comes in the form of icy, salty dust grains erupting from an ocean under the moon’s frozen crust. The chemical nature of those grains suggests the same sort of environment, writes Gabriel Tobie of the University of Nantes, France, in an accompanying Nature commentary, that “might have been the birthplace of the first living organisms on Earth.”
The dust grains were discovered several years ago in Saturn’s E ring, its largest ring, which planetary scientists