The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NASA: News Conference on Oceans Beyond Earth



Meanwhile, beyond Earth orbit and SpaceX's reusable rocket, NASA on April 13, 2017, announced they have found some encouraging signs for the potential for life in oceans off Earth's surface. As NASA states: 
News conference held on April 13, 2017. NASA announces two missions are providing new details about icy, ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn. In one discovery, NASA's Cassini spacecraft detected hydrogen in the plume of gas and icy particles spraying from Saturn's moon Enceladus. This discovery means the small, icy moon — which has a global ocean under its surface — has a source of chemical energy that could be useful for microbes, if any exist there. Meanwhile, Hubble researchers report additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter's moon Europa.
So, Enceladus may well have the chemicals necessary, along with liquid water, to support life. No signs of aquatic aliens yet, but at least there's nothing to entirely preclude the possibility of life in the oceans of Saturn's and Jupiter's oceanic moons below the ice crusts. With the plumes present, given the right instruments (which Cassini doesn't have) we may well be able to determine if there is life on those moons without ever having to get beneath the ice caps ourselves. Exciting times to live. Enjoy the show if you're a dedicated space geek like me!  

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