- ‘Ideal Precursors’ of LIFE Found on Saturn’s Icy Ocean Moon, Scientists Say
Deep under its frozen primordial oceans, Saturn’s moon Enceladus may conceal the building blocks for life, according to recent research. The finding raises exciting new questions about whether mankind is alone in the cosmos.
Scouring vast amounts of data transmitted by NASA’s Cassini probe, researchers discovered Enceladus was emitting “new kinds of organic compounds” in ice plumes ejected from its subsurface oceans. The substances could make “ideal precursors” for the “synthesis of biologically relevant organic compounds,” including amino acids, which make up proteins and play a litany of other roles in life as Earthlings know it.
The findings were published in a study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal on Wednesday. The researchers posited that hydrothermal vents under Enceladus’ oceans are responsible for pushing the compounds into the ice plumes analyzed by Cassini, and said if those vents operate under similar principles to those found on Earth, they could eventually transform the chemicals into amino acids.