2020
February
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What’s going on at the bottom of Enceladus’s oceans?

Along with Mars, Saturn’s moon, Titan, and Jupiter’s moon, Europa, another of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, has long topped the list of locations to search for possible extraterrestrial life. The last probe to study it, Cassini, gave up the ghost in a fiery descent through Saturn’s atmosphere, but new discoveries are still being made in the data it transmitted back to Earth, as an article in Geophysical Research Letters shows.

Dr. Christopher Glein, the main author of the study, explained: “We came up with a new technique for analyzing the plume composition to estimate the concentration of dissolved CO2 in the ocean. This enabled modeling to probe deeper interior processes. Based on our findings, Enceladus appears to demonstrate a massive carbon sequestration experiment. On Earth, researchers are exploring whether a similar process can be used to remove CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. On Enceladus, all this is intriguingly similar to what would be expected from the dissolution and formation of certain mixtures of silicon- and carbon-containing minerals on the seafloor.”

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