Billionaire Yuri Milner has joined forces with NASA and will be working with the agency to hunt for alien life that might be lurking on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which is 628 million miles away from Earth. As most scientists have also concluded that Enceladus is the best place to search for alien life, Milner is hopeful that his efforts will be successful in the end, and that the search is not far-fetched. Out of the entirety of the solar system, this moon is the one place aside from Earth which is believed to hold all of the ingredients that are necessary to create and sustain life.
According to the Daily Mail, agreements for the new mission have already been signed as NASA and Milner will now begin to plot their course of action for exploring the sixth-largest moon of Saturn to look for evidence of alien life. So far, NASA has agreed to spend $70,000 for an initial concept study to determine what a flyby mission would entail and will be giving “expertise in the fields of astrobiology, planetary, biological, and Earth sciences, as well as planetary protection.”
“Agreements signed by NASA and Milner’s non-profit Breakthrough Starshot Foundation in September show that the organizations are working on scientific, technical and financial plans for the ambitious mission.”
With a recent study conducted by NASA earlier in the year, it was concluded that Enceladus has organic molecules in its liquid subsurface ocean that could certainly go on to produce microbial life, and scientists have said that they were “blown away” after reading the study.
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As the study’s co-author Dr. Christopher Glein explained, “The findings have great significance for the next generation of exploration. A future spacecraft could fly through the plume of Enceladus, and analyze those complex organic molecules using a high-resolution mass spectrometer to help us determine how they were made. We must be cautious, but it is exciting to ponder that this finding indicates that the biological synthesis of organic molecules on Enceladus is possible.”
Milner’s Breakthrough has proposed performing another fly-by of Enceladus to analyze the plumes of the moon, but this experience would be even more remarkable as the spacecraft used would be carrying equipment to search for alien life this time around.
NASA has agreed that Breakthrough will be fully in charge of this mission and, as they will be providing the funding for it, the decision will be left to them whether the hunt should officially begin. However, NASA and the European Space Agency are both extremely interested in probing for alien life on Enceladus and may also be conducting their own missions separately in the future.