Scientists have been trying to explain how life got started on Earth since Darwin upended biology over 150 years ago. This same question persists in planetary science today: we explore our Solar System largely because we want to figure out if life also started up somewhere else. And if so, we want to find out how and why it starts at all.
We may soon have a definitive answer. It turns out Cassini may have sniffed hydrogen gas in the plumes of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons known to harbor a large subsurface ocean beneath its icy crust. According to the research team, the release of hydrogen gas suggests the presence of underwater hydrothermal events similar to those found throughout our oceans here on Earth.