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Cassini Tastes Organic Material at Saturn's Geyser Moon Enceladus

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posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 03:29 PM
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As I said in a thread I started a couple of weeks ago, the Cassini spacecraft flew through a water-ice geyser coming from Saturn's Moon Enceladus on March 12. I originally said that not all of the instruments were working, but apparently they worked well enough to get some very interesting readings.

NASA says found organic molecules in the geyser and also discovered that the "fissures" near where this water-ice geyser is emanating are relatively warm (-93 degrees C, -135 degrees F). This could mean that there is a liquid-water ocean beneath th surface of Enceladus.

Enceladus looks as interesting as Europa -- maybe even moreso due to the presence of organic molecules.

Just a point of clarification -- Saying "organic molecules" exist in this geyser is not the same as saying life exists -- but most of you already know that.


NASA's Cassini spacecraft tasted and sampled a surprising organic brew erupting in geyser-like fashion from Saturn's moon Enceladus during a close flyby on March 12. Scientists are amazed that this tiny moon is so active, "hot" and brimming with water vapor and organic chemicals.


Entire Article: Cassini Tastes Organic Material at Saturn's Geyser Moon

[edit on 3/26/2008 by Soylent Green Is People]




posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 08:10 PM
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Just a point of clarification -- Saying "organic molecules" exist in this geyser is not the same as saying life exists -- but most of you already know that.

Yes, but it is a start. It could well be early stages of something developing maybe? There is a thought that Saturn itself is not quite as old as we originally thought and the same might be said for its moons.
Now will we have to wait a few million years to see something squirm or might these molecules be the waste of something that is already there?



posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 06:43 AM
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Seeds of Life Found Near Saturn

A sniff test of water vapor spewing from Saturn's moon Enceladus shows it is gushing with organic molecules, increasing the possibility of life existing somewhere in the Saturn system.

Scientists have been intrigued by the moon since the fountain of water was first spotted in 2005. Now they've identified a soup of prebiotic material there, similar to what's found in comets, from an analysis of data collected by the Cassini spacecraft.

Nobody really knows how life began, but astrobiologists guess it required chemicals like those tasted by Cassini, a little liquid water and some unknown spark.

Hunter Waite, a Cassini principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in San Antonio, said Enceladus' newly understood composition should stir up previous notions of Saturn and its moons.



posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 07:55 AM
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reply to post by Enceladus
 

Yes -- Like I said above, Jupiter's Moon Europa seems interesting, but it looks like Enceladus may even be a bit more interesting than Europa when it comes to talking about the possibility of life existing elsewhere in our solar system.

Enceladus has water and organic molecule "buildng blocks", plus relatively warm (but still cold) surface temperatures that could indicate that there is a warm liquid water ocean beneath the surface -- all of the necessary ingredients for life to take hold.

I think Astrobiologists have a new target on which to concentrate their efforts and energy.

[edit on 3/27/2008 by Soylent Green Is People]



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