Extraterrestrial beings who are studying us could be hiding on the moon Triton
At the current rate of space exploration, a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ beings could be hiding out on Neptune\’s moon Triton.
Recent new study of how and why Saturn\’s icy moon Enceladus could answer the long-standing question: Are we alone? With its inland ocean and geysers of icy water projecting tens of kilometers into space and said to contain the ingredients for life, this small moon could be a prime target for future astrobiology missions. But Enceladus isn\’t the only place in our solar system that is home to active geysers, as another small moon near the edge of the solar system has a similar feature. This is Neptune\’s largest moon, Triton, which was visited just once by NASA\’s Voyager 2 in 1989. But are Triton\’s geysers the only feature that makes it an ideal target for astrobiology and search for e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ life?
“Triton could be an \’ocean world,\’ a moon with a shell of solid ice over a subterranean ocean of liquid water,” said Candice Hansen-Koha, a planetary scientist and assistant representative for experiments on the NASA Imaging Team, Dr. .cheek. traveling mission. “If that\’s the case, and if we can reach that ocean and find life, then the habitable zone will extend into the Kuiper belt, not just into the inner solar system. This has profound implications for our solar system and exoplanets.” “.
Recognized by Voyager 2 as a black streak due to its geysers, Triton is the third known volcanically active planetary body in the solar system, after Earth and Jupiter\’s innermost Galilean moon. Unlike the geysers on Enceladus, which are thought to be caused by tidal heating, the geysers on Triton are the result of solar heating, with dim sunlight reaching the moon causing frozen nitrogen gas on the surface slowly melts and eventually erupts. Active geology also explains the lack of craters on its surface, and it turns out that Triton has another Earth-like feature.
“Triton\’s nitrogenous atmosphere freezes seasonally at the polar caps,” said Dr. Hansen-Koharchek. “Earth also has an atmosphere made mostly of nitrogen. Can you imagine if our atmosphere froze to the ground in the winter? Although Triton\’s atmosphere is thin, winds blow and spread particles across the surface.”
As mentioned, Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited Triton, but another NASA mission called Trident has been selected as a finalist for 2020, its first since 1989. Triton was first explored up close in 2020, but it was eventually removed. in the final round of selection. Launched by NASA in 2021.
“Trident would have established the existence of a subterranean ocean, the first step in recognizing an ocean world,” said Dr. Hansen-Koharchek. “Trident carried a near-infrared spectrometer, which would have allowed us for the first time to map the distribution of ices (N2, CH4, CO, CO2, and H2O) on its surface (Voyager did not carry a near-infrared spectrometer, so all what we know about the composition is what we can extract from the Earth)”.
Triton currently orbits Neptune, which has active geysers, a nitrogen atmosphere, and a possible internal ocean, near the edge of the solar system. When will we visit her again? Could this active moon harbor life as we know it due to its unique features?
And with this, we wonder if Triton will finally answer, “Are we alone?”