The quest to find life in outer space has long obsessed scientists for decades. Many people believe that alien life forms do exist, but science has not shown any proof of life beyond Earth until now.
In fact, NASA has finally confirmed that extra-terrestrial life forms may actually exist in our solar system!
It all started on January 16 2005, when NASA sent out the Cassini probe on a mission to explore Saturn and its complex system of rings and moons. When it approached Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, the probe captured images of what seemed to be bright lights coming out of Enceladus’ south pole.
NASA’s first guess was that these enormous plumes of vapor could indeed be water. They looked so much Earth’s geothermal eruptions, that scientists immediately called them geysers.
This new insight of Enceladus changed the course of the mission. NASA immediately started working on changing the course of the probe remotely for it to pass through the vapor and analyze it.
Where there is water, there could be life. In fact, scientists believe that the first ingredients that created life on Earth were liquid salty water and heat.
This is what made NASA scientists change the goal of the mission to exploring Enceladus.
After 3 years of reprogramming the probe, the scientists’ only thing that remained was to wait for the probe to fly through the plumes and see what they were made of. What they found will change the perception of the possibility of life in our Solar system.
The plumes that shot out of Enceladus were made of liquid, salt water! What is more, the salinity of the water matches that of Earth’s oceans!
The elements in the water that was analyzed also showed that the water in the oceans beneath the icy cover was also hydrothermal!
These three ingredients, liquid water, salt and heat, along with other elements crucial for the creation of life made up the ‘primordial soup’ that is believed to have created life on Earth billions of years ago.
The only question remains is: has life on Enceladus emerged, and if it has – what does it look like?
The fact that Enceladus is within the reach of human technology means that we might very soon discover whether life has evolved within Enceladus’ oceans. However, these life forms are speculated to be very different from that of Earth.
One option is that these organisms may be fluorescent, emitting light in the pitch-dark oceans that lie deep beneath the icy cover of the moon. Another option is that these organisms may have never needed to develop sight because of the perpetual darkness in those oceans.
Whatever the case, scientists don’t expect to find life forms very similar to those on Earth. And as to what will be discovered, we’ll just have to wait and see.
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