NASA’s Cassini probe sampled a plume of material erupting from Enceladus’s surface, and new analysis suggests that it’s an environment where life could flourish inside the icy moon. Researchers led by Lucas Fifer of the University of Washington discovered that the plumes are chemically different from the ocean beneath, which means that the surface of the moon could be much more hospitable to life than previously believed. “Those high levels of carbon dioxide also imply a lower and more Earthlike pH level in the ocean of Enceladus than previous studies have shown. This bodes well for possible life. Although there are exceptions, most life on Earth functions best living in or consuming water with near-neutral pH, so similar conditions on Enceladus could be encouraging,” said Fifer. Read more for another video and additional information.
“Though the high concentrations of gases might indicate a lack of living organisms to consume it all that does not necessarily mean Enceladus is devoid of life. It might mean microbes just aren’t abundant enough to consume all the available chemical energy,” adds Fifer.