Enceladus Vomits Vodkas HyperToxic Cousin

first_img Obviously, alcohol is toxic. They’re called “intoxicated” and “detoxification” for a reason. Blah blah whiskey isn’t good for you etc. We all know, I’m sure. But! Has anyone ever told you not to drink Everclear for fear that you’d go blind? Or have you ever had a buddy’s moonshine that seemed a bit too rough? Well, if you have a bit too much time in the boonies like me, those experiences are common. That’s because, as poisonous as ethanol is, methanol, which can often end up in poorly distilled liquor will cause blindness and death with even tiny amounts. And it turns out one of Saturn’s moons just pukes that stuff into space, proving once again that astrophysics is the most metal of the sciences.Joking aside, researchers have been able to use ground-based telescopes to confirm some findings that the Cassini spacecraft made some time ago. A team at Cardiff University noticed a massive methanol signature in one of Saturn’s rings — the second outermost E-ring. Enceladus runs through the area basically always and has tons of thermal plumes that constantly tosses material into space.Because of that, the methanol discovery could have been evidence of biological life. After all, yeast and other microbes make methanol as part of decomposition and fermentation. But this is definitely one of those times where the science is pretty clear — this almost certainly isn’t caused by life. The reason? Enceladus’ jets don’t have any methanol when they shoot into the sky. Those signatures don’t start until the plumes get a little ways into space. Because space is so inhospitable, particularly for the chemistry you need for booze-making, it’s probably not aliens.“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,” Emily Drabek-Maunder of Cardiff said in a statement. “But in this case, our findings suggest that that methanol is being created by further chemical reactions once the plume is ejected into space, making it unlikely it is an indication for life on Enceladus.”That doesn’t mean that Enceladus isn’t a good place to look. The evidence for it is still pretty damned good that it’s got something interesting going on at least. It just means that this one thing shouldn’t be taken as anything special.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend last_img

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