Enceladus is Saturn’s sixth largest moon. Its surface is composed of icy crust, water vapors and ice particles that thrust to the surface from underground geysers within the ocean beneath the icy crust. Carbon dioxide, carbon mono oxides, volatile gases, salts, silica and some organic compounds are present in the atmosphere of Enceladus.
Water of Enceladus
The ocean water of Enceladus is warm due to its internal heat and therefore, makes it the best place for life’s existence besides our Earth. The hydrothermal reaction between the warm rocks and the water beneath the icy crust of the moon produces molecular hydrogen. The moon contains warm water, organic molecules and accessible source of energy that can support alien life on the moon.
Life Supportive Environment
Some scientists believe that due to the strong gravitational pull of the gas giant Saturn, causes the moon to rotate and twist. Thus, generating heat within the core of the moon causing its water to remain warm and help support life. This warmth allows this moon to keep water in its liquid and warm state. Even though the planet that it revolves around is several miles away from the sun. The moon reflects almost all of the sunlight that falls on it and its surface temperature is nearly -201 Celsius, yet the interior of the moon keeps the water underneath the ice, warm.
In 2015, Cassini probe collected sample from the plume that throws off the ice particles into space. It was studied and nitrogen molecules along with organic material was found within the vapors. It also contained some silicates and salt which is a proof that along with water, there is rock surface in the wide ocean in this moon.
Within the moon, through some sort of complex chemical reaction, molecular hydrogen is produced. Molecular hydrogen is potentially unstable and cannot stick around without any permanent refilling source. An astronomer was of the view that at the ocean bed certain minerals could be reacting with hot ocean water to produce molecular hydrogen. This does not provide any authentication as to whether any life exists on this moon or not. Yet it provides promising environment for life to flourish under such conditions. Further studies and missions would bring forth more about the Saturn’s moon.