Saturn moon has "ingredients for life"

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Nachos
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Saturn moon has "ingredients for life"

Postby Nachos » Thu Apr 20, 11:35 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/science/201 ... ladus-nasa

Listened to this on the BBC news Podcast and there was someone super cute and excited about all of this. Thought I would share :)

Basically there is hydrogen, water and heat available on Enceladus, which means it could potentially host life existing.

This however is based on the assumption that any alien life will have the same basic biochemistry as life on Earth.
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Re: Saturn moon has "ingredients for life"

Postby rowan » Thu Apr 20, 12:56 2017

Enceladus is super awesome.

Given the large quantities of carbon out there, it's fairly reasonable to expect life to be carbon-based, which would prefer a water based solvent. I think on Enceladus and other places that have copious liquid water it is a reasonable assumption to expect life to have at least similar basic biochem. However I do think there are possibilities for other things, e.g. when people talk about Titan, there isn't liquid water (I don't think? though something in the back of my brain is tickling me). But anyway you do have liquid methane & ethane, so if you use those as your solvent then maybe it wouldn't be carbon based? This is pretty much the entirely of my knowledge on potential alien biochemistry, but maybe someone with more biochem can talk about what that'd take. I know there are NASA astrobiologists who work on figuring that stuff out but I don't know any details.
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Re: Saturn moon has "ingredients for life"

Postby melsbells » Fri Apr 21, 14:18 2017

I thought there was a non-carbon based life-form discovered on Earth a few years back. And after checking, nope, it was arsenic as opposed to phosphorous, still got the carbon.

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Re: Saturn moon has "ingredients for life"

Postby rowan » Sun Apr 23, 20:12 2017

Yeah the arsenic one had sampling problems too, and I think wound up measuring a contaminant or something instead of an actual phosphorous replacement? I can't quite recall but it was less awesome than it could have been.
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Re: Saturn moon has "ingredients for life"

Postby DarkOne » Tue Apr 25, 8:54 2017

I heard some discussion on the radio about the challenges of collecting and testing samples while preventing contamination of the foreign environment and samples with earth material -- it was very interesting. Just one of those pesky details of testing for life elsewhere...
I was happy to see at least *some* lessons were learned after trade routes and colonization ended up ravaging indigenous peoples with foreign pathogens.
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