NASA Cassini Data Reveals Building Block for Life in Enceladus’ Ocean
Using data collected by NASA’s Cassini mission, an international team of scientists has discovered phosphorus – an essential chemical element for life – locked inside salt-rich ice grains ejected into space from Enceladus.
The small moon is known to possess a subsurface ocean, and water from that ocean erupts through cracks in Enceladus’ icy crust as geysers at its south pole, creating a plume. The plume then feeds Saturn’s E ring (a faint ring outside of the brighter main rings) with icy particles.
During its mission at the gas giant from 2004 to 2017, Cassini flew through the plume and E ring numerous times. Scientists found that Enceladus’ ice grains contain a rich array of minerals and organic compounds – including the ingredients for amino acids – associated with life as we know it. […]
Read more in the original article: NASA