Large-sized, carbon-rich organic molecules appear to be coming out from the cracks present on the surface of the icy moon of Saturn –Enceladus. This has been observed after the latest findings of the data collected by the Cassini spacecraft of NASA. This discovery establishes the fact that Enceladus is the only place after Earth that has been known to satisfy all the possible conditions that are able to support life as the human beings know it.
The question arises “Do aliens live there?” There could be a possibility. However, it might not be the same scenario as what you might be imagining. A leading planetary scientist confirmed that it cannot be decided whether the origin of the given complex material tends to be biotic. However, there exists strong potential in the given theory. What the scientists mean is that they are still unsure of the origin or source of the heavy, carbon-rich molecules. Yet, it is deduced that it could be from some living organism.
Beneath the icy crust of the Saturn’s moon Enceladus, the surface hosts a warm, mysterious ocean that resides above a rocky core. Several plumes of icy-cold vapor that are hundreds of miles high keep escaping from the ocean’s subsurface into the outer space through the cracks that have been formed in the moon’s crust. The Cassini –NASA’s aboard spacecraft has collected samples from the plumes of icy vapors during the closer flyby of the spacecraft to Enceladus on 28th October, 2015. The spacecraft Cassini had analyzed the collected samples with the help of the Cosmic Dust Analyzer along with a mass spectrometer. The researchers had then reviewed the collected data and came up with the result that depicted the signs of largely-sized, complex carbon-rich molecules.
Cassini, until now, has detected only a much smaller portion of the organic molecules having molecular masses less than 50 atomic mass units. The newly-discovered carbon-rich molecules tend to have molecular masses that go above the range of 200 atomic mass units and are thus, classified as “macro-molecules”. To top it all, these molecules are complex as well. These are made up of elongated chains & rings of carbon. A scientist claimed that this is the first-ever evidence of the presence of largely-sized organic molecules from some extraterrestrial aquatic environment. These could be formed only through the help of equally complex & organic chemical processes.
These types of complex molecules do not dissolve in water. This implies that gas bubbles are responsible for transporting such molecules to the surface of the water bodies where they create an organic film. From the surface of the water, the molecules get transferred into the outer space through the crack on the crust of the moon. Cassini spacecraft has also detected the presence of molecular hydrogen from the rising plumes that emanated from the surface of Enceladus. This again proves to be a vital consideration for the existence of life on Saturn’s moon.