Today, NASA-funded scientists announced a major new step in the search for life on Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, thanks to new data collected by the NASA/ESA Cassini mission.
Enceladus has attracted a lot of interest because it has an active pole that spews jets of material into outer space. During its last flyby over that pole, an instrument on board the Cassini spacecraft detected the presence of a biomarker—molecular hydrogen. This suggests that the ocean we know lies beneath the moon’s surface could indeed contain an ecosystem similar to the ones we find in deep-sea hydrothermal vents on Earth.
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