2017-04-13. Food for microbes abundant on Enceladus.

posted Apr 13, 2017, 11:06 PM by Alan Gould

By Paul Voosen, Science. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied jets of water ice and vapor erupting into space from fissures on Enceladus, evidence of a salty ocean beneath the saturnian moon’s placid icy surface. Now, it turns out that the jets contain hydrogen gas, a sign of ongoing reactions on the floor of that alien sea. Because such chemistry provides energy for microbial life on Earth, the discovery makes Enceladus the top candidate for hosting life elsewhere in the solar system—besting even Jupiter’s Europa, another icy moon with an ocean. “We didn’t see microbes,” says Hunter Waite, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, and the lead author of a study published this week in Science. “But we saw their food.”...  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/food-microbes-abundant-enceladus