NASA revealed Thursday that one of Saturn’s moons has nearly all the elements needed to support life.
The findings about the icy white moon Enceladus suggest at least the possibility that Earth may not be the sole home to life in the solar system.
“Water’s there – check. Organics are in the plume – check. Now we have a chemical source of energy for food – check,” says Hunter Waite, a co-author of the new study detailing the findings in the journal Science.
The “chemical source of energy” is hydrogen, and it was discovered bubbling up through Enceladus’s crust by the agency’s Cassini spacecraft. Though there is no definitive evidence of life on the moon, the presence of the hydrogen makes it a lot more likely, as hydrothermal vents here on Earth are breeding grounds for microbial life.
There are still two essential chemicals for living organisms that haven’t been confirmed — sulfur and phosphorous — but Waite says that “Enceladus is rising to the top of habitable places that exist in the solar system.”
Learn more from NASA by watching one of the agency’s announcement videos below.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.