The recent space explorations made by NASA has fueled countless news reports that aliens might exist.
The agency is poised to send its Cassinispace probe to search for possible signs of life on Enceladus, a small, ice-covered moon which orbits Saturn, reported City A.M .
Enceladus is only a seventh the size of the Earth’s moon – 310 miles in diameter – and continually releases a cloud of ice spray from its ocean’s surface, which has enabled Cassini to determine the moon’s composition even without landing.
Recently, the space probe discovered the presence of water on Enceladus’ surface, which significantly raises the possibility that alien organisms may actually thrive in the environment.
The NASA probe’s upcoming fly-by will enable it get as close as 30 miles from the moon’s south polar region, which will give scientists a better view of the spray ejected through fractures on its surface.
Data collected from the mission is anticipated to give NASA unprecedented insight in the chemical composition of Enceladus’ surface.
The space agency’s primary purpose in sending out the probe is not to actually search for actual alien life, but rather to determine the exact conditions which would make it possible for extra-terrestrial life to take root.
This news however has not dampened the enthusiasm of those who continue to hope that aliens are just around the bend.
“This incredible plunge through the Enceladus plume is an amazing opportunity for Nasa and its international partners on the Cassini mission to ask, ‘Can an icy ocean world host the ingredients for life?”‘ Curt Niebur, Cassini program scientist at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, said.
Meanwhile, the latest information obtained by Cassini probe indicates that the ocean on Enceladus is salty, as the water plumes shooting out from the moon’s southern pole contain salts and organic molecules, according to Discovery News .
Experts explain that this occurs when minerals from underlying rock were leaching into water, which is necessary for the development and evolution of life.
“It was not a surprise to find a water reservoir certainly, because we knew that there are plumes, there is liquid water,” noted planetary scientist Luciano Less of the Sapienza University of Rome.
“But until you actually get this gravity data, it’s still kind of a circumstantial evidence-story,” pointed out Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, senior scientist with the Tucson, Ariz.-based Planetary Science Institute. “This is proof of the pudding.”
As NASA continues to launch its space explorations, news that aliens exist will continue to be featured.