Year: 2018-19

Anastasia Grigore, Denisa Maria Băieșu

School: Colegiul Național "Calistrat Hogaș”

City: Piatra-Neamț

"Enceladus is a satellite of Saturn, the sixth largest in size. What impressed me about this satellite, and made me want to know as much as possible about it, is the fact that it is full of surprises. One of th em is its surfaces, for example, geysers of gigantic ice (water) particles of the order of tens and even hundreds of kilometers high, which may come from huge underground seas that might have life forms similar to ours. Clouds have also been observed.

On Enceladus there are also relatively hot formations (150 instead of 70 Kelvin) called "tiger stripes", which consist of very deep and very long parallel trenches (up to 130 km),full of snow and water steam. These formations emit huge amounts of energy (measured per cm2). The area they are located in is around the southern pole, without craters that could be explored. The causes of this unusual activity are hardly elucidated, especially since Enceladus is a very small satellite (504 km in diameter) and I could contribute to it.

Seeing all these spectacular features that Enceladus presents, I have done some in-depth research to find out if life is possible on its territory. I have read more debates on NASA sites and even different books, and the conclusion I have reached was Dennis Matson's, a NASA scientist in Pasadena, who said that Enceladus has extraordinary conditions for the emergence and development of life. Saturn's satellite has good temperatures, water vapor, and chemical elements suitable for creating chemical bonds that can give birth to living cells. American scientists are convinced that, as they advance on the Enceladus vapor geyser study, the real chances of discovering primitive forms of life will increase considerably. Regarding the potential of being a living heavenly body, Enceladus holds almost all the ingredients needed for terrestrial life. Although it seems a desolate and frozen heavenly body, life may thrive under the crust of ice that covers it.

The Cassini probe, launched by NASA, discovered with the help of a mass spectrometer the first evidence of chemical reactions occurring at great depths under the ice layer of Enceladus and which could create a favorable environment for microbial colonies. Experts believe that this discovery is the "last piece in a puzzle" that proves that life is possible on Enceladus - a truly remarkable possibility, as this celestial body is at a distance of 1.4 billion kilometers from the Sun.

The above is just a small part of what Enceladus hides, a part of the many spectacular things he presents. I was deeply impressed by this topic and I have the interest and the curiosity to learn more useful information about other planets too, and with a lot of work we might be the ones who find out these details."

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