The researchers have discovered in the grades of the Saturnian Encelade satellite geysers increased methane content, which cannot be explained by well-known geochemical processes, but may be a consequence of the life of microbes.
Although externally, one of the moons of the gas giant is not similar to the place where life can exist, but under its thick ice shell is hidden underground ocean. It is told about its existence, water geasers say that regularly escape into open space.
During the Mission to explore Saturn, Cassini spacecraft flew through the loops of these jets and recorded in them an unusually high concentration of methane molecules. This indicates the presence of hydrothermal velves on the oceanic day of the Encelade and active processes of metagenesis, which are not explained by the well-known natural abiotic (without the participation of living organisms) by mechanisms.
On Earth, the main share of CH4 produces biological beings and some of them are inhabited in hydrothermal sources. However, since the Saturnian seabed studies require extremely complex deep-water studies, the team from Arizona University decided to add a microbial methangenesis factor to a geochemical mathematical model.
To their surprise after an addition to the calculations of biological processes, the results of the models began to be coordinated with the data collected by Cassian. However, scientists do not yet draw conclusions regarding the availability of life in Encelade, since it is possible that chemical and physical processes occur on the satellite, which are not found on Earth.
To confirm or refute the hypothesis, scientists need more data from future missions.
No less attractive for studying Saturn’s companion is Titan, which in 2026 NASA plans to send a research
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