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Times Now Digital
Updated Jul 09, 2021 | 12:30 IST
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Representational image.  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images

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  • Given that we can't exactly scoot over to Enceladus, the researchers turned to complex and painstaking mathematical modelling to evaluate the probability that the methane on Enceladus was formed biologically
  • Specifically, the team wanted to find out if the observed dihydrogen produced was enough to sustain a microbe population, and if so, how that population would change the volume of dihydrogen and methane escaping out via plumes
  • The assessment will come as immediate encouragement to those hopeful that, under the icy shell of Saturn's moon, life exists

basketball-foul-and,Back in 2005, when NASA's Cassini-Huygens probe navigated through the salty plumes shooting out of the interior of Saturn's moon, Enceladus, it found something quite interesting. 

The collection of compounds that make up the plume is believed to come from a massive ocean of liquid water that swishes around under the moon's icy shell. But there's more than just water there. What really caught the attention of astrobiologists was the amount of methane present in the plumes. However, given what we know of geochemical (non-biological) processes that take place on Earth, that amount of methane remained plausible. ,cricket-winning-odds

A recent study has now put paid to that theory. Researchers have concluded that no known geochemical process can explain the amount of methane seen spewing out from Saturn's moon. And yes, that means there remains the possibility that the methane may be biological in origin. ,kabaddi-2018

basketball-online-bestellen,“We wanted to know: Could Earthlike microbes that 'eat' the dihydrogen and produce methane explain the surprisingly large amount of methane detected by Cassini?” said Regis Ferriere, a biologist at the University of Arizona. 

india-betting,“Searching for such microbes, known as methanogens, at Enceladus' seafloor would require extremely challenging deep-dive missions that are not in sight for several decades.”

Given that we can't exactly scoot over to Enceladus, the researchers turned to complex and painstaking mathematical modelling to evaluate the probability that the methane on Enceladus was formed biologically. 

Specifically, the team wanted to find out if the observed dihydrogen produced was enough to sustain a microbe population, and if so, how that population would change the volume of dihydrogen and methane escaping out via plumes. ,uefa-score

“In summary, not only could we evaluate whether Cassini's observations are compatible with an environment habitable for life, but we could also make quantitative predictions about observations to be expected, should methanogenesis actually occur at Enceladus' seafloor,” said Ferriere. ,volleyball-nations-league-australia

The assessment will come as immediate encouragement to those hopeful that, under the icy shell of Saturn's moon, life exists. The researchers also found that abiotic (without the aid of life) hydrothermal-vent chemistry, as far as we know it here on Earth, could not account for the levels of methane that Cassini had observed. But when they factored for the methanogenic microbes, the data seemed to fit. ,basketball-ball-outdoor

basketball-wives-trailer-2021,But let's not get ahead ourselves. There are other explanations. It is possible that the methane could have been produced through geochemical processes that do not take place here on Earth. 

casino-pokies-real-money,For example, it's been posited that primordial methane may have been trapped inside the moon from comets or solar nebula formed during the early moments of the Solar System and that this is what is actually leaking out in the plumes. Then there is the possibility that primordial organic matter may be decaying underneath the frigid shell of Saturn's moon, generating methane as a byproduct. 

Nevertheless, the study makes a compelling case to visit Enceladus. “Obviously, we are not concluding that life exists in Enceladus' ocean. Rather, we wanted to understand how likely it would be that Enceladus' hydrothermal vents could be habitable to Earthlike microorganisms. Very likely, the Cassini data tell us, according to our models,” said Ferriere. ,movable-basketball-rack

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