Saturn Moon Holds Recipe for Life

Life's 'building blocks' found in massive geysers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2008 9:27 AM CDT
Saturn Moon Holds Recipe for Life
This photo released by NASA on March 9, 2006, shows the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus as seen from the Cassini spacecraft.    (AP Photo/NASA, JPL, Space Science Institute)

Basic components of life like heat, organic chemicals, and water have been found on a Saturn moon, Reuters reports. A spacecraft flying over Enceladus this month spotted 500-mile-high geysers spouting off its surface, containing water vapor and the organic molecules found in living things. Though no one’s saying there’s life on Enceladus, later missions will look for liquid water under its surface.

 “The question that one would ask is: where did the organics come from?” noted a researcher. On Earth, he said, they come from “decaying biological matter,” but on Enceladus, their source may be “geochemistry going on in the interior.” Scientists say there may even be an underground ocean fueling the geysers, which are reminiscent of carbonated water with natural gas. (More space stories.)

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