NASA Just Made A Major Discovery About An Ocean World That Could Support Alien Life
Aliens. There are probably so many of them, on so many planets all over the universe. They’re probably in all sorts of shapes an sizes: Underwater aliens. Flying aliens with wings. Crazy crawfish looking aliens with monkey legs. Blows my mind thinking about what extraterrestrial life is probably like out there.
NASA made a major discovery last week about life on other planets, including two moons in our own solar system — Saturn’s Encleadus and Jupiter’s Europa.
In the papers, Cassini scientists announce that a form of chemical energy that life can feed on appears to exist on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and Hubble researchers report additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa.
“This is the closest we’ve come, so far, to identifying a place with some of the ingredients needed for a habitable environment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington. ”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.”
The paper from researchers with the Cassini mission, published in the journal Science, indicates hydrogen gas, which could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life, is pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor.
The presence of ample hydrogen in the moon’s ocean means that microbes – if any exist there – could use it to obtain energy by combining the hydrogen with carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. This chemical reaction, known as “methanogenesis” because it produces methane as a byproduct, is at the root of the tree of life on Earth, and could even have been critical to the origin of life on our planet.
I hope we get to meet the aliens some day. I hope they know how to keep it chill and have some sort of alien equivalent of OAR that we can all pass the peace pipe to in someone’s mom’s basement.