Saturn's moon Enceladus smells like booze

Scientists have detected large quantities of 'methanol' near Saturn's outermost ring, which is being expelled by Saturn's moon Enceladus. This means that the Saturnian moon smells like booze!

The weekend is coming and for many of us, these means partying out with friends with a glass of beer (or maybe several glasses of beer), which usually means that we spend our Sundays drinking tonnes of lemon water or coffee. But that’s just one day. Now, imagine if you had to drink tonnes of alcohol every day, so much so that so smelled like booze (that expression precisely).

A team of researchers from Cardiff University, United Kingdom, have detected large quantities of the organic molecule ‘methanol’ near Saturn’s outermost ring, called the E-ring. Interestingly, the team was able to trace the molecule back to Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

For those of you who don’t know, Methanol is a toxic booze, which can cause kidney failure and even blindness on prolonged exposure (no, you don’t want to taste it).

The recent discovery suggests that Enceladus, which spews water from its subsurface ocean through cracks in its icy surface, undergoes some chemical reactions after it spits out water. The findings suggest that the methanol is being created by the chemical reactions once the Enceladus spews waters.

“Recent discoveries that icy moons in our outer Solar System could host oceans of liquid water and ingredients for life have sparked exciting possibilities for their habitability,” lead scientist Dr Emily Drabek-Maunder said in a press release.

In the past, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected the presence of other molecules like methanol in Enceladus’ vents but this is for the first time that such an observation has been made from a ground-based telescope.

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“This finding shows that detections of molecules at Enceladus are possible using ground-based facilities. However, to understand the complex chemistry of these subsurface oceans, we will need further direct observations by future spacecraft flying through Enceladus’s plumes,” she added.

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Meanwhile, we request someone to call a cab for Enceladus before it passes out (hiccup…hiccup)!

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