A missing element for life may be present in the ocean of Enceladus

The ocean inside Saturn’s moon Enceladus may be enriched with phosphorus, an element important for life as we know it, new research reveals.

Phosphorus is a vital component in the biochemistry of life. For example, it joins with sugars to provide a “backbone” to DNA, linking the four nucleobases to the double helix. Phosphorus is also used in cell membranes and bones, as well as in a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, which carries metabolic energy throughout the body.


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