From the arrival of the Cassini-Huygens mission on the Saturn system back in 2004, we got various startling discoveries. One of the most significant ones was the fact that they found plume activity around the region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. This seems to be the result of the geothermal activity. Naturally, this also raises an important question: can the interior of the ocean support life?
Ever since then, many studies took place
They wanted to get a better idea of how likely it is the idea of life inside Enceladus. The University of Washington has conducted the latest research. In this study, they showed that the concentrations of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane in the interior of Enceladus are more likely to carry life. This changes the previous ideas regarding this matter.
The similarities in pH from the oceans of the Earth are the reason why the Enceladus’ subsurface ocean is so exciting for the researchers. They saw that there were some similarities after Cassini began to study the plumes that erupted from the southern pole. The speed was of about 1300 km/h (800 mph).
The plumes are quite different
However, we need to keep in mind that the plumes are not really the same as those find in the ocean. They are not the same to those who erupt since the eruption process changes their composition. This is happening because the plume goes through a separation of gases, which is known as the fractionation. It allows the components of the plume to erupt, while many others are left behind.
With regards to this matter, the plumes give an open window to the composition of Enceladus’ subsurface ocean. The team has analyzed data from the Cassini mission by using a computer simulator. It helped in accounting for the effects of the fractionation process.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.