Saturn's Moon Dione has Oxygen


Dione is a 700 miles diameter moon discovered astronomer Giovanni Cassini in 1684. It obits Saturn at about a quarter of a million miles every 2.7 days,

This small moon is seems to be mainly thick water ice around an even smaller smaller rocky core. Recently the Cassini spacecraft (named for the discoverer of Dione) found molecular oxygen ions (O2+) during a 2010 pass of Dione. The oxygen ions are a result of charged particles from Saturn's magnetosphere that strip an electron from the oygen molecules. The same magnetosphere then strips away these oxygen ions fron the Moons atmosphere.

The oxygen in Dione's atmosphere has a concentration about the same as Earth's atmosphere 300 miles high making it too thin to support life. What this shows it that a lot of free oxygen is being produced on icy celestial bodies around the solar system when they are bombarded by charged particles.

This has raised some speculation about it combining with carbon to produce compounds needed for life. Even if true that is a far step from life itself. The naturalistic origin of which can be to be thermodynamically impossible.

Reference

Cassini Detects Hint of Fresh Air at Dione

 

 

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