Enceladus's oceans could be the new home for humans

According to new research, Enceladus, one of Saturn’s 83 moons, could be the new home for humans. Enceladus is one of the time locations where researchers are expecting the presence of life. When the Cassini spacecraft passed over Enceladus, it showed that Saturn's moon was special as it showed the presence of liquid water, one of the primary components for carbon-based life forms. Now the researchers at Southwest Research Institute suggest that the oceans on Enceladus might be rich in phosphorus, which is one of the critical elements in forming organic compounds. Life on earth is a wonder, as out of eight planets in our solar system, only Earth has a complex life. Since stepping for the first time on the Moon, humans have been looking for various locations across the universe for the presence of life. Many science fiction literature and movies have highlighted the vision of humans to have residence on other planets, to flourish the human species, and to prevent its extinction. So far, astronomers have identified several habitable planets and moons which have water in a liquid form. The reason behind Earth having life is its distance from the sun. The earth falls into a habitable zone, which means it is at the right distance to have the right atmospheric temperature and to have water in a liquid state. These are the two essential components necessary for the formation of organic compounds such as amino acids. Besides Earth, Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos, and Earth’s own Moon are also in habitable zones. But these moons lack the presence of an atmosphere and water. Along with the habitable zone, researchers also found out that the moons of Saturn and Jupiter could be bearing a habitable environment due to the gravitational force exerted by the planet and the planet’s reflective heat keeping the moons warm. So far, researchers have acquired promising results from Europa, Enceladus, Ganymede, and Tian. Out of these, Enceladus is the most promising moon, which is orbiting around Saturn. The Cassini aircraft found liquid water on Enceladus, which sparked interest in researchers for its further exploration. During the exploration, the Cassini spacecraft collected plumes of ice grains and water vapor samples that erupted from Enceladus. In these ice grains, researchers found almost all the elements required for the presence of life. Along with the presence of these elements, the researchers at the Southwest Research Institute also suggested that the oceans of this Saturn’s moon could be hosting significant levels of elemental phosphorus, one of the bio-essential elements. Phosphorus is a necessary element in creating life as it is an important component of the DNA. It is also an important component of the ATP molecule, which organisms use as an energy molecule for sustaining life. The team of researchers has discovered that beneath the crusty ice surface of Enceladus, the oceans of liquid water could be carrying phosphorus. Based on the observations from the Cassini spacecraft, the team of researchers performed thermodynamic and kinetic modeling to replicate the oceans of Enceladus. This replication or simulation shows that in the Enceladus environment, the phosphorus minerals are highly soluble in the water, suggesting their presence in Enceladus's oceans.