The new findings from Nasa's Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since 2002, indicate that ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and organics were also found coming from the plumes, nearly all the ingredients needed to support life on earth. They described their findings in the journal Science.
From a long time scientists have thought of Enceladus as one of the most probable candidates for life within the solar system, in large part because of its subsurface ocean that covers its entire body. "These results demonstrate the interconnected nature of NASA's science missions that are getting us closer to answering whether we are indeed alone or not".
Hydrogen is leaking out of the center of Enceladus, it's coming from an ocean and leaking through cracks in the icy crust before leaking out into space.
The production of methane is an important and widespread form of microbial metabolism and a source of energy for metabolism is one of the three primary ingredients for life as we know it to exist.
The discovery means that microbes - if any exist there - could obtain energy by combining the hydrogen with carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. We also now believe Insolitus also has a huge ocean.
However, the scientists pointed out that just because Enceladus has conditions suitable for methanogenesis, that does not prove anything is living there. Although Cassini hasn't found phosphorus and sulfur in the ocean, scientists suspect that they are present there.
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NASA's Cassini spacecraft said the icy, ocean-covered body possesses ample amounts of hydrogen gas.
The molecular hydrogen was found during space probe Cassini's last pass through the natural satellite's plumes in October 2015.
During earlier flybys, the spacecraft also sampled the gas plumes' composition. A plume of water had already been observed in the same spot, which is how scientists knew to be watching for it.
Analysis has shown the plumes mainly to consist of tiny particles of water ice, with traces of methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide, salts, and simple organic molecules.
Nasa announced the discovery at a press conference at the agency's headquarters in Washington DC on Thursday.
As per reports, Cassini is not able to detect life, and has found no evidence that Enceladus is inhabited. The latest findings support this assertion and note that the rock is likely creating chemical reactions, which lead to the production of hydrogen. But NASA's New Frontiers program is holding a competition for its next mission, and Enceladus is a potential target.