The probability of intelligent life beyond Earth is very high. Its almost certain. But as space is big, the probability of any two intelligent sets of life on different planets communicating is pretty low.
However, simple life forms may be everywhere. Provide 3 things – water, heat and some nutrition – and life seems to get going pretty quick. One of the best spots for these three things may be Enceladus. This moon of Saturn was long considered a dead world. But new data is showing just how alive it might actually be.
This moon just keeps on providing more and more surprises.
Old Faithful has nothing on his on. Yellowstone may be impressive, but it turns out that Enceladus is covered with geysers. Enceladus, one of Saturn’s many moons, has a strange fractured surface, with large ‘tiger’ stripes running the width of the planet. We’ve long suspected that here stripes are fractures in the icy crust of the moon, but never suspected they would be the source of quite so much activity.
Then, back in 2005, we saw the first geysers on Enceladus. These were vast plumes of water ice stretching far above the surface of the moon, and led to the the new train of thought that these moons could harbor a liquid pool under the surface.
Now, we’ve got enough data to show that the geysers do in fact come directly from these fractures. Turns out these must be powered from deep down inside the moon. 101 geysers were viewed in total, and they each lie along one of the main 4 stripes. Discovery of the geysers has excited astrobiologists, who see water as a crucial ingredient for alien life. Next up has to be a lander to sample the geyser plumes.