Saturn’s moon Enceladus has the ingredients for life

The discussion on the possibility of extraterrestrial life in the solar system centers on four bodies: Mars, Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Titan, another moon of Saturn.
The discussion on the possibility of extraterrestrial life in the solar system centers on four bodies: Mars, Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Titan, another moon of Saturn.

One of the things I love about writing hard science fiction — that is, fiction where the science is credible — is it gives me an excuse to perpetually study. Or, to be more honest, it gives artistic purpose to my semi-random documentary viewing and article reading.

The next book in my series is set 22 years after the events of Oyu’s Trident. Thanks to the Bythian invasion, humankind has gotten the kick in the pants it needs to stop focusing on national economies and start focusing on the survival of the species beyond Earth.

A logical sequence would be: make a Lunar base, set up a Mars colony, perhaps one on Titan… then head out of the solar system.

Then I learn about Saturn’s moon, Enceladus (en-SELL-a-dus), “which has often been the focus of flybys of the Cassini spacecraft. Although small — Enceladus is roughly 10 times smaller than Saturn’s largest moon, Titan — Enceladus has shown hints of having a complex internal structure rich in liquid water” [Science]. Enceladus is the only body other than Earth known to possess the four essential ingredients for life, at least as we know it: liquid water, energy, carbon, and nitrogen [NYTimes].

Seems like a natural place for humans to build a way station… or for Bythians to drop off some undesirables.

Six miles of water under 20 miles of ice sounds like a good place to drop any generation ship passengers who’ve proven too crazy to keep on board, but not crazy enough to execute.

I love it when science throws me a plot bone.

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