A NASA space probe has discovered a new ocean on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Dubbed the Enceladen Ocean, some researchers speculate that there could be life on one of Saturn's moons.
Scientists always suspected that Enceladus contained water. Saturn's moon reportedly reflects 100 percent of the sunlight. Researchers hypothesized that there were ice crystals covering the planet.
In 1982, the space probe Voyager proved scientists hypothesis. The ice crystals on the moon were constantly changing too, as valleys and basins field with snow, reported Time Magazine.
In 2008, NASA's Cassini spacecraft discovered what appeared to be a cryovolcanic exhaust that had ordinary water containing, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, potassium salts and other materials, reported Time Magazine.
Now, NASA scientists determine that Cassini is able to see features on the moon resembling a hot fissure and possible ice volcanos. Cassini was also able to sample some of the debris coming from the ice volcanos and determined they contain water vapor, ice particles and organic molecules reported Universe Today.
The fissure reportedly looks similar to tiger stripes, according to Time. NASA scientists were interested in a pair of stripe near the moons warmest polar regions, since they are deeper and wider compared to the others and appear to change over time, reported Time.
These fissures move the same way banks of the San Andreas fault move and shift as it approaches Saturn.
This new work gives scientists insight into the mechanics of these picturesque jets, said Terry Hurford, a Cassini associate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, reported Time. [It] shows that Saturn really stresses Enceladus.
Enceladus's distortion is an indicator of how much water the moon contains. Researchers suggest that it is a watery, flexible world. For it be this flexible implies that there is a large ocean moving flowing and moving the fissures.
Cassini's seven-plus years ... have shown us how beautifully dynamic and unexpected the Saturn system is, says project scientist Linda Spilker at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reported Time.
This discovery could be game changing. Water is known as one of the key ingredients to life, along with heat and organic materials. The fissures generate a significant amount of heat and the fact that they contain organic molecules has scientists wondering what else could be out there.
Enceladus Explorer is an German operation possibly in the works, according to Universe Today. It would place a station on the surface near one of the fissures as it drills into the ground using the IceMole, a new type of drill, in order to search for life.
The IceMole is already being tested on Earth and has melted away ice in Switzerland. The next experiment is have it excavate the Arctic.