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Life on Enceladus? It depends on its origin

Cassini measurements suggest hydrothermal activity on Enceladus that could support methanogenesis. Bayesian analysis of models simulating an abiotic or biotic ocean indicates the latter is more probable so long as abiogenesis is sufficiently likely to occur.

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Fig. 1: A schematic summarizing the biogeochemical processes modelled by Affholder et al. to simulate plume chemistry and compute the probability of life on Enceladus given Cassini data.

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Acknowledgements

This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D0004). US government sponsorship acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Laura M. Barge.

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Barge, L.M., Rodriguez, L.E. Life on Enceladus? It depends on its origin. Nat Astron 5, 740–741 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-021-01382-4

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