Is There Life on Saturn?

Well, not exactly. However, NASA has just announced their discovery that one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, possesses most of the elements necessary to support life.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft

NASA's Cassini spacecraft

M. Ende '19

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Despite constant searching for habitable planets or possible life outside of our solar system, scientists have just made a monumental discovery that was quite unexpected. After more than a decade of research into the icy exterior of the moon, it was realized in 2015 that there has to be a global ocean underneath Enceladus’ ice shell since there are geysers spewing plumes of gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and some other substances. Very cold and tiny, the -330°F and 157 mile long moon was the focus of plenty of more research, which resulted in the discovery of hydrogen molecules erupting from the geysers, too; therefore, there might be “hot spots,” or hydrothermal vents, in the ocean. If these vents do exist, there is a possibility of microorganisms living there, like the ones in our oceans.

Discovering the hydrogen was an accomplishment achieved through NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which dove into the plumes at the south pole in October 2015. By September 15, 2017, Cassini will finish the 22 orbits it is programmed to make around Saturn and destroy itself by throwing its body into Saturn’s atmosphere. Our world’s genius and dedicated scientists at NASA have made an immense discovery that changes the idea of habitable “planets” with this spacecraft. Without being out of our solar systems or light years away, Enceladus manages to capture humans’ attention.

If inescapable danger ever approaches Earth—especially with climate change, nuclear weapons, and the random and unlikely possibility of a meteor threatening the planet, pessimistically—hopefully we’ll have found a way to arrive at a safe planet or moon somewhere in this universe. Eventually, we will find a way, and these discoveries that may seem simple are truly the key to more knowledge of the universe’s endless possibilities.

 

 

 

(P.S. If you read the first letter of every sentence of this, it spells out what the title of this article is referencing. Oops. I had to.)

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