Where there’s water…

Listen 05:39
Image: NASA

Image: NASA

Scientists have discovered a new suggestion of habitability in the ocean of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Early doubts about tidal friction providing adequate heating for water jets is now supplemented by the suggestion that an unconsolidated core would allow penetration of water from the surrounding ocean and frictional heating derived from tidal interaction with Saturn. It’s valid to surmise this mechanism has been been functioning for a billion years and so a (relatively) warm ocean environment could’ve been in place for a billion years or more, maybe long enough to allow the development of life forms. On Earth, it’s estimated that the first microorganisms emerged after just 500 million years, with hydrothermal vents playing a key role in supplying heat and minerals.

A long-lasting supernova has been discovered – While supernovas typically are ‘one and done’, observations of a supernova that just won’t die indicate perhaps a new type of supernova, one that takes several explosions, maybe over decades, to blow off enough material to finally give up the ghost and begin to dim and cool.

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