content long 21-October-2017 21:18:05

Winners Spain

10-12 years old: Ice plumes at the south pole of Enceladus

 Author: Javier Morales Palomo

Although life arose on Earth, or so they say, the first molecules that formed the organisms may not have originated here.

The documentary presented the theory of panspermia (synonymous of global or total origin). Arrhenius said that volcanic eruptions can place all kinds of molecules of life and even bacteria in layers of the atmosphere. From here, the solar wind (emissions from the sun formed mainly by electrons and protons) can transport them to other celestial bodies. He estimated that even Alpha Centauri (the solar system closest to ours) would take about 7000 years.

When we look at Enceladus, with  the ice cover under which the hydrogen compounds abound, we think: all these molecules can form living beings! The first thing one imagines is that studying Enceladus can allow us to understand how life was formed. But what if Arrhenius was right? What if the first molecules came to Earth from Enceladus or other similar satellites or planets?

Gaseous geysers were able to transport molecules from their interior to the space from where they could reach the Earth driven by the stellar wind coming from some star or comet.

What if the study of Enceladus discovers the existence of bacteria? Could they have reached Earth? Could they have reached other planets? What if we could find a cure for diseases caused by new pathogenic bacteria or even not yet found on Earth? Does life really scatter through space? Is the theory of panspermia true?

Maybe this explains the origin of some of the new bacteria or viruses that we are discovering and that affect our organism: before they did not exist on Earth, but after their stellar journey they multiplied.

But what if Earth was one of the origins of life in the galaxy? Perhaps gases from Earth came to Enceladus, Titan, Mars or other satellites or planets currently studied and influenced the composition of their atmosphere ... or their life. It's a mystery!

Therefore, studying Enceladus, its composition and the mechanisms by which the geysers are produced, may allow us to understand the processes by which life makes its way in the Cosmos.

 


Last Update: 19 May 2017

For further information please contact: SciTech.editorial@esa.int

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