Ocean world near Saturn hotter-than-ever contender for life

The craft determined that 98 percent of the plume was water, which is heated from Saturn's gravitational pull, while one percent was hydrogen and the rest was a mixture of carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia.

Experts say the plumes could produce enough energy to help support life, despite being so far away from sunlight.

The Cassini spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope, which launched in 1990, both played key roles in the discovery.

The hydrogen strongly suggests that hydrothermal activity is going on in the ocean below the surface of Enceladus, and because some of the most basic lifeforms on Earth thrive in ocean vents like the ones Cassini has been flying over, the same type of life could exist on Saturn's moon.

'These results demonstrate the interconnected nature of NASA's science missions that are getting us closer to answering whether we are indeed alone or not'.

So does that mean Europa or Enceladus could be home to populations of alien squids and shrimp?

Two NASA missions have new evidence of ocean worlds in our solar system, which were presented in an announcement at NASA's headquarters in Washington yesterday, Thursday April 13.

NASA's space Hubble telescope has observed "probable" plumes erupting from Jupiter's moon Europa.

On Jupiter's moon Europa, the Hubble telescope observed "probable" plumes erupting past year, indicating what they believe is a form of chemical energy that life can feed on.

The Cassini craft was not created to detect signs of life, and scientists did not know the plume existed until they received data showing its existence.

As per reports, Cassini is not able to detect life, and has found no evidence that Enceladus is inhabited.

It will dive toward the planet and burn up in September, at the end of its mission.

A moon orbiting Saturn could harbour favourable conditions to support life, according to new information released by NASA.

Enceladus is the sixth largest moon of Saturn. The others? Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur in an environment with liquid water and an energy source.

That chemical, detected by the Cassini spacecraft, is molecular hydrogen (H2), which is produced by hydrothermal vents in the Earth's sea floor that are harbors for microbial life. In the fall of 2015, NASA spacecraft Cassini flew through a plume of vapor escaping from a crack in the moon's icy surface.

According to William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Hubble Space Telescope captured pictures of a plume emanating from the same hot spot both in 2014 and in 2016 that were nearly identical in appearance.

NASA's Planetary Science Division Director, James Green, said: "We're pushing the frontiers".

On Earth, where we find water, we find life, so that's where we like to look for life in space, too.

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