Geysers of water on one of Saturn's moons

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Enceladus seen from Voyager spacecraft
picture showing Saturn and Cassini

NASA has announced that the Cassini spacecraft has found what seem to be geysers spewing water on the moon Enceladus. The find raises the possibility of life on other planets, as liquid water is believed to be a requirement for life. "This marks the first time that scientists have seen evidence of water in liquid form so close to the surface on another body beyond Earth," said Cassini scientist Torrence Johnson. Although life may be found on the moon, most scientists concede that if Enceladus does harbor life, it probably consists of microbes or other robust organisms capable of living in extreme conditions. This latest discovery shows that life in other parts of the universe may be more probable than previously thought.

"We realize that this is a radical conclusion — that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado. "However, if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms."