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Samples from Enceladus could play a big role in the detection of life.

Samples from Enceladus could play a big role in the detection of life.

Samples from Enceladus could play a big role in the detection of life.

Saturn’s satellite Enceladus, whose surface is covered by a thick layer of water ice, suggests evidence that Enceladus has a subsurface ocean, releasing mass of water, vapor and ice from its south pole into space.  In the picture above, we can see that high fountains of water and ice in the “Lion Stripes” area near the south pole of Enceladus.

Cassini-Hoygens is a spacecraft, launched in 1997, and has been studying Saturn and its natural satellites since 2004. Studying data collected by the Cassini spacecraft from the subsurface ocean of Enceladus, the key elements for life in the ocean are the elements H, C, N, O and possibly S;  simple and complex organic compounds;  chemical disequilibrium at the water-rock interface;  Clement is temperature, pressure and pH, and this is the reason why Cassini’s discovery makes the interior of Enceladus a prime location to find life other than Earth.

Enceladus’s low physical interaction with the inner Solar System makes it likely that such life would have emerged independently on Earth, revealing such a discovery that would reveal universal characteristics of life.  Enceladus is an alternative consequence of the upper limit on the biosphere for other habitable environments, because in this way more can be learned about the prevalence of life beyond Earth.

There are plans to bring the samples collected from Enceladus to Earth so that researchers can analyze the samples with instruments in the laboratory. NASA is planning to bring accessible ocean samples to Earth from the surface or low altitude of Enceladus, using an example set of mission team measurements to estimate sample volume and discuss possible mission architecture and collection approaches, are described, so that samples can be safely brought to Earth.