A discovery that further enhances the possibility of extraterrestrial life, where the essential element of life 'phosphorus' is found in Saturn's satellite Enceladus

Saturn's moon 'Enceladus (Enceladus and Enceladus)' was found to have the essential element of life 'Phosphorus'. The Tokyo Institute of Technology, which played a part in the research, says that this discovery has expanded the possibility that ``life similar to life on earth'' exists in the universe.

Detection of phosphates originating from Enceladus's ocean | Nature


Phosphorus, an essential element for life, is abnormally concentrated in the sea of Saturn's moon Enceladus.

New Study Proves Existence of Key Element for Life in the Outer Solar System Freie Universität Berlin

Key building block for life found at Saturn's moon Enceladus | Southwest Research Institute

Enceladus is attracting attention from many researchers as a celestial body with the necessary conditions for life such as 'liquid water', 'organic matter' and 'energy'. In addition, in 2015, a Japanese research team discovered that hydrothermal vents existed on the seabed of Enceladus. Since hydrothermal vents are considered to be a strong candidate for the origin of life on Earth, expectations have risen that ``life also exists on Enceladus.''

A new research team led by Professor Frank Postberg of the Free University of Berlin in Germany analyzed data collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft and found that phosphoric acid was present in the plume particles ejected from the underground sea of Enceladus. found included. Furthermore, based on the percentage of phosphate contained in the plume particles, we calculated that the phosphate concentration in the subsurface sea of Enceladus is between 1 and 20 millimoles per liter. Since the concentration of phosphate in sea water on Earth is 500 nanomoles per liter, the underground sea of Enceladus contains phosphate at a concentration thousands to tens of thousands of times higher than on Earth.

A research team led by Professor Yasuhito Sekine of the Tokyo Institute of Technology simulated the seawater of Enceladus, preserving the composition of the early solar system. A reaction experiment between carbonaceous chondrites and simulated Enceladus seawater was carried out. As a result, it was clarified that the characteristic of the groundwater of Enceladus, which is 'alkaline and high carbonic acid concentration', is a factor in the concentration of phosphate.

According to the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the feature of ``alkaline and high carbonic acid concentration'' is a feature commonly seen in the underground ocean of ice bodies outside the solar system other than Enceladus. For this reason, it is expected that the concentration of phosphoric acid occurs not only in Enceladus but also in celestial bodies such as `` Saturn's satellites other than Enceladus '', `` Uranus' satellites '', `` Neptune's satellites '', `` Pluto '', and `` Ryugu ''.

The Tokyo Institute of Technology describes the results of this research as ``expanding the possibility of the existence of life in space, especially the possibility of life that is materially similar to life on Earth.''

in Science, Posted by log1o_hf