NASA is taking footsteps towards finding essential building blocks of life on extraterrestrial planets. This time, researchers have found emerging forms of organic compounds on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Before few years, NASA’s Cassini probe dived into Saturn’s atmosphere after collecting massive data about the planet. Meanwhile, researchers are still studying the data which Cassini relayed to Earth before its end. The American space agency has published its new finding on Wednesday, which reveals Cassini has captured new types of organic matters. When the probe crossed the plume of ice released by the moon, it has found antecedents to amino acids. Scientists say the compounds containing nitrogen and oxygen are stirring because they pinpoint the underground ocean of Saturn’s moon.
Although, Cassini has gathered a treasure of information and imagery of Saturn as well as its moons. The probe has explored the planet with rings for around two decades. In this latest discovery, scientists have seen the material that Saturn’s icy moon emits from its core through hydrothermal vents. In this phenomenon, the elements mix with water in the moon’s underground ocean, which comes out as icy grains or water vapor. Notably, while analyzing those emissions, the team has found molecules that are concentrated over ice grains and which contain nitrogen and oxygen.
As per researchers, both compounds on Earth participate in the chemical reactions that create amino acids. Even more, these are the organic substances that team up to form proteins and are essential for life. On our planet, energy from hypothermal vents on the ocean floor assists in promoting these reactions, which release amino acid. According to NASA, probably, those elements could lead to amino-producing reactions in the ocean of Enceladus. But another notable aspect is it assumes there are precise conditions for these chemical reactions over the planet. Apart from this, scientists are not sure whether amino acids are essential for the evolution of life in outer space. Maybe the finding does not reveal life exists on the moon. But it is a crucial breakthrough in NASA’s exploration of the celestial body.