This Week in Science
There are a two items of interest in Science Magazine this week. Actually there are lots of interesting things in Science every week, but this week has two items of pertinence to understanding life in the universe.
First, in News Focus is a report that Cassini got a taste of Enceladus in Saturn’s E ring. Salt water! Or at least salts typical of our own oceans. What this means is that Enceladus most likely has a liquid water ocean beneath all the ice. Saturn’s E-ring is formed by the geyser of stuff flowing out of Enceladus. Cassini has been sampling the E-ring.
In Perspectives, Frances Westall talks about Life on an Anaerobic Planet. The problem is that early life on Earth, before the atmosphere had all this wonderful oxygen, left traces that could also have been from abiotic processes. Over the past several years advances have been made in figuring out how to tell whether a particular bit of rock has traces of other geological processes embedded in it or it has traces of actual life. Reminds me of recent news about my second favorite planet.