We may be on the brink of one of the most important discoveries in our history!
A few days ago the Cassini probe flew only 49km above the surface of Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. Notably, it passed through the cloud of material ejected from Enceladus’ south pole geysers.
So far there is mounting evidence that the white ice-covered moon harbors a global water ocean under the surface. After the data gathered by the probe is sent back to Earth and analyzed in a few weeks, we will know more about the chemical composition of Enceladus’ ocean and be able to assess whether it has conditions suitable for the existence of life.
While Cassini’s instruments are incapable of detecting life forms, the scientists should be able tell whether there is any hydrothermal activity going on, which could be important for sustaining life.
Discovering any form of life on a such a tiny rock (500km in diameter) would indicate that life is common in the Universe.