Enceladus, which is one of the 53 named moons Saturn has, might be home to a warm subsurface ocean. This has been revealed by a new NASA study. The said study has been conducted together by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and scientists from the space agency’s Cassini mission.
According to Sean Hsu, the leader of the researcher team at UCB, this finding indicates that Enceladus might be inhabitable. Hsu is the head of the university’s Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics.
The Cassini spacecraft of NASA detected tiny rock grains near Saturn. Hsu and his team believe that those grains indicate that there might be some kind of hydrothermal activities taking place beneath the ice surface of Enceladus.
The scientists believe that the microscopic rock grains, which are probably formed due to chemical reactions between hot water and rocks, are not very old. Hsu informed that for occurrence of such chemical reactions the temperature of water must be at least 100°F.
What surprised the scientists most about this finding, however, is that Enceladus is smaller even than Earth’s moon and is expected to remain inactive. Scientists never thought that they will discover activity such as the presence of a warm subsurface ocean on Enceladus.
Hsu said that still people on Earth don’t know exactly how our solar system functions; according to him, discoveries like this will encourage people to come up with more ideas and develop more advanced technologies.
In a statement issued recently, NASA said that with this research we have got closer to getting an answer to the question whether extraterrestrial life does exist.
John Grunsfeld, an NASA astronaut, wrote in the statement that the findings of this study show that Enceladus, a place that displays significant geologic activities, might have an inhabitable environment.