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NASA Dives Deep into the Search for Life

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Wed May 30, 2018 10:34 pm

Off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island and more than 3,000 feet beneath the ocean surface lie the warm, bubbling springs of a volcano — a deep-sea location that may hold lessons for the search for extraterrestrial life.

Here, NASA and its partners are blending ocean and space exploration, with a project called SUBSEA, short for Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog. Lessons learned in both fields will be mutually beneficial and could help design future science-focused missions across the solar system.

Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa are thought to have liquid oceans and hydrothermal activity under icy crusts. Locations on Earth with key similarities to future deep-space destinations are called analog environments. SUBSEA’s target, the springs emerging from a volcano forming the next Hawaiian island, called the Lō`ihi seamount, is an analog for these ocean worlds

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Post by Dragon Wed May 30, 2018 10:36 pm

NASA Dives Deep into the Search for Life Enceladus_cross-section
Credits: NASA-GSFC/SVS, NASA/JPL-Caltech/Southwest Research Institute

Artist rendering showing an interior cross-section of the crust of Enceladus, which shows how hydrothermal activity may be causing the plumes of water at the moon’s surface.

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Post by Dragon Wed May 30, 2018 10:37 pm

NASA Dives Deep into the Search for Life M15-155a
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Dramatic jets of ice, water vapor and organic compounds spray from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus in this image captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in November 2009.

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NASA Dives Deep into the Search for Life 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Wed May 30, 2018 10:38 pm



Enough heat to power hydrothermal activity inside Saturn’s ocean moon Enceladus for billions of years could be generated through tidal friction if the moon has a highly porous core, working in favour of the moon as a potentially habitable world.


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Post by Dragon Wed May 30, 2018 10:39 pm



Hydrogen found in plumes on Saturn's moon Enceladus


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Post by Dragon Wed May 30, 2018 10:46 pm



SubSea workings


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