Recently, this moon has been keeping astrobiologists awake at night due to the discovery of molecular traces of hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen there, as well as hydrothermal processes. All of this is a strong indication of the possibility of life there, functioning under a several-kilometer-long ice crust, at the bottom of a great and deep ocean.
We have known for several years that there are geysers there, which are constantly gushing water with ice. Now the ideas about this extraordinary world are even more extended to us by the information obtained from radar research conducted by the Cassini spacecraft. It turns out that on Enceladus, geysers act like snow cannons. Every now and then they shoot particles of fresh ice and water towards Mimas and Tethys, the other moons of Saturn.
Astronomers explain that both objects are covered with quite thick, several dozen centimeters layers of water and ice, and this is due to the fact that they do not have an atmosphere, so this process can take place without any obstacles. The mystery, however, is whether the water and ice exported from Enceladus contain the building blocks of life, or even microorganisms.
Perhaps we will know the answers to all these questions along with the mission to the ice moons of Saturn. Such an undertaking is planned by the Breaktrough Initiatives organization, which was founded by Yuri Milner, TV Review of the most famous multi-billionaires from Russia, and was supported by the late Stephen Hawking. As part of the project, the Russian wants to send a probe called BI to Enceladus. He would like to do this before NASA does, which is the early 1920s.
NASA is planning a mission to another Lord of the Rings moon, Titan. He wants to send an underwater drone there that will explore the oceans of methane and ethane. Before these missions take place, astronomers intend to look even better at the data obtained by the Cassini spacecraft, and if they will find something else interesting there. Each piece of information will be worth its weight in gold in terms of better preparation for space missions to these icy objects.