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NASA Announcement Today on Potential Habitats for Alien Life

Posted April 13, 2017 9:10 AM by Bayes

NASA Announcement Today at 2 p.m. EDT

NASA will discuss new results about ocean worlds in our solar system from the agency’s Cassini spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope during a news briefing 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 13. The event, to be held at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington, will include remote participation from experts across the country.

You can watch it here, on NASA TV

Enceladus

One of the potential habitats to be discussed will be Saturn's 6th largest moon, Enceladus. There appears to be evidence of hydrothermal activity, based on the amount of hydrogen in plumes emanating from the moon's south pole. The large amount of hydrogen is strongly suggestive of a constant hydrothermal process wherein the ocean under the surface of Enceladus is interacting with rock and organic compounds. The amount of hydrogen present is in disequilibrium i.e. if there was not a process that was constantly generating hydrogen the observed hydrogen levels would likely be lower than what is seen. Something is pumping it out.

To be clear, none of this indicates there is life in the oceans of Enceladus. Only that life supporting conditions might exist there. This is still significant since it further extends the possible habitable zones of the solar system and all star systems in general. It should be an interesting press conference.

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Re: NASA Announcement Today on Potential Habitats for Alien Life

04/17/2017 11:24 AM

Based on the tremendous tidal forces at play, good luck drilling that at all. It had better be a short probe, and it had better be a heat drill with a hot nuclear reactor.

So much for keeping Enceladus clean.

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