The Oceans of Enceladus
Psalm 147:4: “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.”
Could the stuff of science fiction be a reality in the outer reaches of our Solar System? As a boy, I read two sci-fi novels, which proposed that the planet Venus was covered in ocean: Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus, by atheist writer Isaac Asimov (published in 1954 under the pseudonym Paul French) and Perelandra (1943), by Christian writer C.S. Lewis.
Now that we know that Venus is actually a super-hot forbidding world, with a runaway Greenhouse of an atmosphere, attention for such worlds is placed farther away. The Cassini spacecraft, launched in 1997, and nearing the end of its life, is studying Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. Studies have suggested the presence of hydrogen, pouring into the floor of an ocean, which is believed to exist below a crust of ice. This is exciting to evolutionary scientists. The Science Daily website enthuses thus:
Life as we know it requires three primary ingredients: liquid water; a source of energy for metabolism; and the right chemical ingredients, primarily carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. With this finding, Cassini has shown that Enceladus – a small, icy moon a billion miles farther from the sun than Earth – has nearly all of these ingredients for habitability.
There are bacteria, which can manufacture methane from hydrogen and carbon dioxide, but there is no mechanism by which these bacteria could have appeared on Enceladus. Whether or not God has placed such bacteria on Enceladus – and I suspect not – the discovery of this mix of chemicals provides no evidence for the non-existent process of evolution.
Prayer: Once again, Lord, we look at Your heavens, and are reminded of how great You are, and amazed at why You care for us. We praise and magnify Your Holy Name. Amen.
Notes: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "New insights into 'ocean worlds' in our solar system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170413140838.htm.
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