Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.

 

PacSci-Doku: “Alien Life”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What object in the solar system may have an ocean full of life?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

A  U  E  e  S  L  D  N  C

PacSci-Doku: "Alien Life"

Puzzle Difficulty: Hard

The Answer

PacSci-Doku: "Alien Life" Answer

The question in this edition is:

What object in the solar system may have an ocean full of life?

The answer: Enceladus

For 13 years, the Cassini spacecraft orbited Saturn before ending its mission in a suicidal dive into the Saturn atmosphere in the fall of 2017. One of the most intriguing events in its long life was to fly through the tenuous geyser plumes on the surface of the Saturn’s moon Enceladus. New analysis of the gases in the plumes reveals larger and more complex organic compounds than ever found in the solar system. While these compounds are not alive, they are the building blocks that could go into the formation of life.

The geyser plumes come out of cracks in the icy surface of the moon, which covers a massive ocean below. This abundance of organic compounds is why scientists put Enceladus near the top of the list of places to visit to explore for alien life. Read more about how this moon of Saturn may be the home to life elsewhere in the solar system.

 

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