Alien Life On Saturn’s Moon?
Discovering alien life would undoubtedly be one of the biggest events in human history. The vast majority of scientists now conclude that alien life is all but a mathematical certainty, the real question remains as to whether it will be discovered, given the enormous vastness of the universe. It could be that aliens live in our own neighbourhood, on a cosmological scale, or perhaps so far away that we never make contact with them.
On the other hand, it turns out that alien life may already have been discovered, as nearby as a moon orbiting Saturn. Perhaps not the alien life that everyone imagined when compared to Sci-Fi movies and space themed online slots, but alien life never the less.
The aliens in question are tiny, microscopic organisms.
Signs Of Life
It is important to keep in mind that the microbes have not, officially, been discovered on the moon of Saturn, referred to as Enceladus. Instead, given observations made by the NASA Cassini mission, the possibility of life on the moon spiked into the realistic zone. But what exactly was observed that made scientists so optimistic?
The key to the observation was that, under an enormous sheet of ice, that Enceladus was covered in liquid water. And, as everyone knows, liquid water is the key to life developing on planets. Furthermore, the moon also had enormous geysers, shooting the liquid out into space. This was proof positive of hydrothermal activity on the planet. And so, the key to all of these observations?
The water itself, plus that it was observed that the water was rich with methane. Two and two equals the possibility of alien microbes. Not impressive aliens, at least when compared to science fiction movies, but aliens none the less.
Similar Life Exists On Earth
The biggest part of this puzzle is that life exists on Earth, in very similar circumstances. And this has led to the hope that life will exist on Enceladus. But where could life possibly exist on Earth, in similar circumstances to a distant moon orbiting Saturn? Deep under our oceans, near the crust of the Earth. Where conditions were recently thought to have been uninhabitable.
Microbes were discovered deep below the ocean, off the coast of Japan. These microbes not only survived, but also thrived in an environment so hostile that scientists were speechless. The striking similarity is that this Earth microbe produces methane when consuming hydrogen, which could explain why the water sampled from Enceladus was so rich in methane. And yes, hydrogen was likewise discovered in the water, meaning that the microbes would have something to feed on.
Signs Of Life
So, once again, there is no solid evidence at all that the microbes exist on Enceladus, but instead positive signs that it might exist. Very simply put; it is simply a matter of observing the circumstances, and predicting that certain organisms may perhaps live on the planet.
Simon Rittmann, at the University of Vienna in Austria, led investigations into attempting to reproduce life as it would be on Enceladus. According to him, it is possible that a microbe could thrive on Enceladus, given the experiments done here on earth.
What Would It Be Like?
However, Rittmann was also quick to point out that any alien microbe found on Enceladus would also be very different. Simply proving that life could exist in such circumstances is one thing, but how that life came to be there, on a completely alien planet, and how it evolved, are very different things entirely. There is simply no substitute for finding real alien life, as Rittmann put it, and studying such a microbe would be absolutely essential for any scientific research on earth.
But will life ultimately be found on Enceladus, and will it be any time soon? The sad truth is that launching a mission to investigate the moon would not only be immensely difficult and expensive, but also only give results in the late future. And so, it seems, that at least for now officially discovering aliens is still only science fiction. But the reality has never been closer than it is right now.