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Space => Life on Other Worlds => Topic started by: Kristin Moore on May 23, 2015, 07:59:56 pm

Title: Enceladus' ocean is similar to lakes on Earth
Post by: Kristin Moore on May 23, 2015, 07:59:56 pm
Enceladus' ocean is similar to lakes on Earth
Posted on Monday, 11 May, 2015 | Comment icon 8 comments


Could microbial life exist in the oceans of Enceladus ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL

The subsurface ocean on Saturn's moon is very similar to life-bearing salt lakes on our own planet.

The recent discovery of a liquid ocean beneath the icy crust of Enceladus has opened up the door to the possibility of finding extraterrestrial microbial life there and now scientists believe that this freezing moon may even be home to water that is not dissimilar to that found in some of the lakes on Earth.

Enceladus is a small but geologically active world with huge geysers blasting through the ice that have enabled experts to analyze the salt content and pH level of the water underneath.

The latest data suggests that this subsurface ocean contains high concentrations of sodium chloride which makes it remarkably similar to some of the extreme 'soda lakes' on Earth.

One such place, Mono Lake in California, is known to contain a number of extremophile organisms.

The find has elevated Enceladus to the single most likely place to find evidence of extraterrestrial life within our own solar system and could make it a prime target for future space missions.

Perhaps NASA's recent prediction of finding alien life within 20 years could come true after all.

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Source: Reuters