• Astrophysicists working with NASA’s Saturn sweeping Cassini spacecraft have just announced that Enceladus has a warm ocean at its southern pole with ongoing hydrothermal activity—the first ever discovered outside of Earth.
  • Hsu and his team analyzed a class of dust nanoparticles in this outermost ring. Using Cassini’s mass spectrometer tool, they showed that these dust particles were made mostly of silica, and that they were the skeletons of evaporated geyser-flung saltwater. These particles point toward warm waters on Enceladus.
  • With temperate, vent-warmed waters that contain nitrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, and various other chemicals required for Earth-like life, Enceladus could very much look like the Lost City hydrothermal field under the Atlantic Ocean—an environment where many scientists believe life first originated on Earth. That’s a far cry from the scientific state of affairs 15 years ago, when scientists were sure Enceladus was

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