Saturn - one of the most beautiful planets of the SolarSystems. Its unique appearance is largely due to the largest system of rings that can only be observed in the vicinity of the Sun. In addition to its external data, Saturn is famous for a whole retinue of satellites of various shapes and sizes. So, Titan is considered one of the planets potentially suitable for human colonization in the distant future; the small satellite Mimas is unique in its giant crater, almost one third of this moon in length, and icy Enceladus can hide real alien life beneath its surface. According to an official statement from NASA, there is indeed organic matter beneath the surface of this icy world. But how could it appear at such a considerable distance from the Sun, and what could such a discovery mean to humanity?
Can life begin on Enceladus?
In September 2017, the Cassini spacecraft,studying the surroundings of Saturn, officially completed his mission. Before being burned in the atmosphere of a giant planet, the probe made the last three flights around the small satellite of the planet - Enceladus, during which it passed through a water plume that went directly from the surface of this moon. During the flight, the device managed to collect information about the composition of the Enceladus loop, which greatly surprised scientists. According to official NASA data, Enceladus water is rich in a huge variety of compounds, including carbon, nitrogen in the form of ammonia, and even oxygen. It is known that on Earth such compounds serve as building blocks that form life itself. If similar Earth processes occur on Enceladus, we can safely assume that life exists there too.
See also: The abundance of gases on Enceladus is “free food” for life. But is there life there?
In the analysis received by the automatic stationCassini data, researchers from Germany and the United States were able to analyze molecules on ice grains in the trail of Enceladus, showing that they are oxygen-containing and nitrogen compounds. On Earth, these compounds are involved in the production of amino acids - the building blocks of life.
Emissions from Enceladus arethe result of geological activity occurring on the satellite of Saturn. The presence on the satellite of powerful hydrothermal sources sending material from the core of the moon to space indicates the presence of an energy source of unknown origin. Researchers believe that such a powerful source, capable of lifting tons of ice and water far into the satellite’s atmosphere, may be Saturn’s gravitational pull, which causes a phenomenon called libration in the scientific community. Largely due to the libration effect, between the icy outer shell and the rocky core, Enceladus can have a huge ocean of water, which makes it one of the most promising goals in the search for alien life in our solar system.
Due to the fact that on Earth hydrothermalsources on the seabed abound in life; there is a high probability that they were responsible for the origin of primary life on Earth. In this case, the chemical reactions taking place inside these sources could become specific building blocks from which all organisms subsequently developed. If so, then the presence of such sources on Enceladus can make this small ice world one of the most likely candidates for the origin of alien life forms.
In a study published inmonthly notes of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers say that the compositional characteristics of organic compounds are almost completely dissolved in the subsurface ocean of Enceladus before they evaporate and freeze in the crust of Saturn’s satellite.
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However, scientists questionthe need to use extraterrestrial life of certain amino acids, however, the very search for molecules that form amino acids is an important part of the puzzle, the answer to which, one day, can shed light on the mystery of the origin of man on Earth.