Discovering Signs of Life on Moons of Jupiter and Saturn

By
Agustín Sanchez Fernández
1 min read

Subterranean oceans on some moons of Jupiter and Saturn are ideal places to host extraterrestrial life. A recent study suggests that ice grains ejected from Europa and Enceladus may contain enough material for instruments to detect signs of life. This discovery may enable NASA’s upcoming missions, such as Europa Clipper, to confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life. Even a tiny fraction of cellular material could be identified by a mass spectrometer onboard a spacecraft. The study's lead author, Fabian Klenner, expressed confidence that upcoming instruments will be able to detect lifeforms similar to those on Earth. Europa, known for its veiny appearance, is believed to harbor a global ocean of water underneath its icy surface. Additionally, the European Space Agency’s Jupiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission will study Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede closely. Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, is also a target for potential astrobiological studies. It has a warm, salty ocean and plumes that spew liquid into space. The proposed NASA Enceladus Orbilander mission is expected to launch in the future. These discoveries pave the way for potential breakthroughs in the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system.

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