Researchers on the Hubble Space Telescope report additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter's Europa moon.
Enceladus is an icy moon a billion miles farther away from the sun than Earth is.
Original Story: Today at 2 p.m. ET, NASA will hold a news conference announcing "new results about ocean worlds in our solar system", and more tantalizingly, "the broader search for life beyond Earth".
The hydrogen strongly suggests that hydrothermal activity is going on in the ocean below the surface of Enceladus, and because some of the most basic lifeforms on Earth thrive in ocean vents like the ones Cassini has been flying over, the same type of life could exist on Saturn's moon.
In fact, Enceladus may have methane breathing alien life already there.
Waite is the lead author of "Cassini Finds Molecular Hydrogen in the Enceladus Plume: Evidence for Hydrothermal Processes", published in the April 14, 2017, issue of the journal Science.
According to the associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, this is the closest humanity has come so far to identify a place with some of the ingredients required to support life.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has detected hydrogen in a plume of gas and icy particles spraying from Saturn's moon Enceladus, prompting the question could it be a suitable energy source for microbes to exist in its sub-surface oceans.
Cassini also picked up water, traces of ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane in Enceladus' water plume.
These observations show that almost 98 percent of the gas in the plume is water, about 1 percent is hydrogen and the rest is carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia.
NASA scientists have discovered key ingredients for life in geysers on the surface of Saturn's moon, Enceladus, the space agency said Thursday.
It turns out that Enceladus has every single of those ingredients necessary for the creation and maintenance and evolution of life.
Although researchers have not actually found life on the planet, the hydrogen discovery proves there is a "food source" to support it. These organisms could be the foundation of a larger ecosystem in Saturn's moon.
Scientists have detected a similar plume on Europa, Jupiter's moon. As University of MI planetary scientist Sushil Atreya told Scientific American, water is necessary for life as-we-know-it for a number of important reasons: "Liquid water acts as a solvent, as a medium and as a catalyst for certain types of proteins, and those are three main things that allow life to flourish". New observations from NASA's Galileo spacecraft suggests Europa's plume, like the plumes on Enceladus, is associated with warmer temperature readings.
NASA is planning for a new mission known as the Europa Clipper mission, which is now slated for the early 2020s.