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2012-03-27. Is It Snowing Microbes on Enceladus?

posted Mar 29, 2012, 3:36 PM by Alan D. GOULD BA
| by Dauna Coulter, NASA Science News. An article relevant to GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: …In a series of tantalizingly close flybys to the moon, named "Enceladus," NASA's Cassini spacecraft has revealed watery jets erupting from what may be a vast underground sea. These jets, which spew through cracks in the moon's icy shell, could lead back to a habitable zone that is uniquely accessible in all the solar system. …says Carolyn Porco …"Cassini has flown several times now through this spray and has tasted it. And we have found that aside from water and organic material, there is salt in the icy particles. The salinity is the same as that of Earth's oceans." …She believes the small moon, with its sub-surface liquid sea, organics, and an energy source, may host the same type of life we find in similar environments on Earth. …But what makes Enceladus special is that its habitable zone offers itself up for easy access. "It's erupting out into space where we can sample it. It sounds crazy but it could be snowing microbes on the surface of this little world…. Read the full article: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/27mar_enceladus/