The Cassini space probe has found evidence of hydrogen on Saturn’s moon, Titan said in a new report released today. The discovery supports the hypothesis that Titan may have hidden life in its subsurface oceans, and that microbes can obtain food during methane production, and that carbon dioxide dissolved in water produces energy through the methane-generating process.
Scientists believe that in hot vents deep in Titan’s oceans, hydrogen is formed by the interaction between hot water and surrounding rocks. Cassini’s mission has helped scientists conclude that hot water under Titan’s ice crust is coming into contact with a rock core. Hunter White, lead author of the study, said: “While we can’t detect life, we found that there is a source of food for life. It’s like a microbial candy store. “
On October 28, 2015, the probe discovered hydrogen during titan’s last and most recent crossing of the plume in the Antarctic. In observations using an ion and medium-nature spectrometer (INMS), Cassini found that the plumes contained 98 percent of water, 1 percent hydrogen, and the last 1 percent of the composition consisted of a mixture of other molecules, including carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia.
NASA says life as we know it requires three main components, including liquid water, metabolic energy, and the correct chemical symbiosis, mainly carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. With this discovery, Cassini shows that Titan has almost all of these habitable components. Cassini has yet to show phosphorus and sulfur in Titan’s oceans, but scientists suspect they exist because the rock core of Titan is thought to be chemically similar to meteorites containing both elements.