Scientists have discovered the "building blocks" of life on Saturn's moon Enceladus, discovering complex organic molecules, according to a study released this week.
The study, published in the journal Nature, is based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft before entering the atmosphere of Saturn and ending its mission on September 15, 2017.
"It is the very first discovery of complex organic matter from an extraterrestrial water world," said Frank Postberg lead author of the study, in a statement on the European Space Agency's website
SATURN'S ICY MOON ENCELADUS, A POSSIBLE HOME FOR LIFE
"The data limit the macromolecular structure of the organic matter detected in the ice grains suggesting the presence of a thin organic-rich film on the ocean water table, where organic nucleation nuclei created by the bursting of bubbles The study is:
Postberg and the other researchers have identified large organic molecular fragments in ice grains spewed out of geysers on Enceladus.
"We found large molecular fragments that show structures typical of very complex organic molecules," added Nozair Khawaja, who also worked on the study, "These huge molecules contain a complex network, often made up of hundreds of thousands of molecules Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and probably nitrogen, which form circular and chain-like substructures. "
This is not the first time Cassini has discovered organic molecules Enceladus, the newly discovered, are significantly larger than previous discoveries, reported Reuters.
Cassini was launched in 1997 with a total cost of $ 3.9 billion ($ 2.5 billion pre-launch and $ 1.4 billion post-launch) and spent 13 years orbiting, studying and data from Saturn and its moons including Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
Enceladus became a potential host already last year mentions life support, including from NASA. In April 2017, NASA announced that the moon could support life thanks to the discovery of hydrogen.
THE ICY WORLD OF SATURNS MOON ENCELADUS COMES INTO LOOK
Enceladus, known as the "Ocean" "The World" could have some similarities with Earth, showing the way for life could level.
In the Earth's oceans, organic substances from deeper waters can accumulate on the walls of rising air bubbles, migrate to the surface and then spread bubbles burst. Scientists think something similar could happen on Saturn's moon.
The results of the study, while exciting, do not specifically demonstrate that there is life on Enceladus, but it is possible when the complex molecules are combined with liquid water and hydrothermal activity.
"In my opinion, the fragments found are of hydrothermal origin, as they were processed in the hydrothermally active core of Enceladus: At the high pressures and temperatures prevailing there, complex organic molecules can form," said Postberg
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