Space exploration has become increasing exciting in the past few years as more and more evidence is piling up that we are not alone in the solar system. It used to be that the idea of life elsewhere in our own solar system was farfetched. However we are now learning that two moons; Jupiter’s Ganymede and Saturn’s Enceladus have warm water oceans with conditions that may be hospitable to life.
Ganymede is the biggest moon in the solar system and might be a great place to go scuba diving.
Ganymede, which orbits Jupiter, has a salty ocean beneath its surface with more water than all of the oceans of Earth.
Conducting a new study, scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope were able to determine that the satellite has an ocean that is 60 miles deep, which is ten times as deep as any ocean on Earth. That is also a great place for meraliens to hide.
Enceladus looks like my high school yearbook photo: veiny and pot-marked.
Also this week scientists announced that Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus has its own warm, subsurface ocean of water. While this moon is very small, only 300 miles across, its ocean habitat is similar to that of Earth 3.5 billion years ago. Using data from the Cassini spacecraft which flew through the Saturn system, scientists were able to examine particles called “silicates” that were ejected from the moon’s water vapor plumes as depicted in the image below;
It was determined that these particles came through hydrothermal vents which are believed to line Enceladus’s ocean floor. The silicates chemical makeup, size and amount indicate they came from the ocean environment and astonishingly present conditions similar to underwater environments on Earth. This has all pushed Enceladus to the top of the list of places in our solar system that could have alien life. Linda Spilker who works for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on The Cassini mission says that;
“You have energy, nutrients, and liquid water, which create a potential habit that could support life.”
In the coming years, hopefully more space probes visit Ganymede and Enceladus so we can get a closer look at those alien fish.
What do you think? Is there alien life on these moons or is it just wishful thinking?
Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney