Life on Enceladus?

Life on Enceladus?


Evidence from Cassini, a robot spacecraft, suggests that there are oceans of hot water on Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus. Might the oceans be home to alien life? In this activity students use their knowledge of the behaviour of water in its liquid and solid states to weigh up the evidence for and against the presence of liquid water on Enceladus. They then decide if it is worth sending a second spacecraft to look for alien life on this icy moon.


Learning objective

  • Particle model: Explain the properties of solids, liquids and gases based on the arrangement and movement of their particles 
  • Draw conclusions: Judge whether the conclusion is supported by the data 

    Blueprint curriculum link

    • Unit: Substances & particles
    • Concept: Particle model: Substances can be modelled as small particles in motion. Their energy and arrangement differs between states of matter
    • Skills: Explanations: Critique a claim for whether there is evidence
    • Learning stage: Analyse

     Activity contents

    • Teachers guide
    • PowerPoint file

    The activity is delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download it.


    Enceladus video clips

    Video clips with Brian Cox about what the Cassini spacecraft discovered about Enceladus. Suitable for use in class to introduce the activity.

    Solar system exploration

    Information about Enceladus from NASA, including links to resources news releases about the findings of Cassini.

    Saturn and its moons

    Information about Enceladus from NASA, including links to a virtual tour, information about its atmosphere and news releases about the findings of Cassini.

    Hot springs on Enceladus

    Useful teacher background about recent findings.