Saturn Moon May Contain Water
By Harman Smith and Laura Generosa (nee Berwin), graphic artists and contractors to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, via Wikimedia Commons

Saturn Moon May Contain Water


Piggybacking on our first story of the week is news of a German team that has more evidence that there is water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

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Enceladus’s icy shell is interrupted by “strange-looking grooves” and craters, and NASA’s Cassini probe showed water vapor plumes that shoot out (in crystal form) into space from Enceladus’s south pole. However, the dust shot out by these “cryo-volcanoes” travels more slowly than the ice crystals.

The dust shot out by these “cryo-volcanoes” travels more slowly than the ice crystals.

The new hypothesis, which appears in Nature: the water vapor and ice grains spring forth through tunnels; the heavier ice grains rub against the side of the tunnels (carrying dust), slowing down and therefore traveling shorter distances once ejected.

According to the model at the center of the hypothesis, this means liquid water must exist in equilibrium with ice and vapor in Enceladus’s crust, even though the surface temperature of the moon is -315˚F (-193˚C)!

The press release explains, “Heat and water are two of the essentials for life as we know it, although anything that exists in Enceladus's presumed sub-surface ocean is likely to be microbial at best.” This once again reflects secular astronomers’ attitude that finding simply one organic molecule or (in this case) finding the possibility of liquid water somehow seems to indicate that life could exist. Furthermore, the idea that Enceladus is warm enough on the inside to sustain liquid water is speculation based on the model.

Thus, even if we bypass the speculation and granted Enceladus a balmy, watery interior, there is no evidence that even in such an environment—even if organic chemicals were poured into such an environment all day long—that life would magically spring forth. Thus, when it comes to the story of life appearing on earth, you either have to have faith that it was divinely created or have faith that it “magically” appeared despite our failure to have ever observed such an event in the lab or in the stars.

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