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A new study discovered that one of Saturn’s 83 moons holds one of the key elements essential to life, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

Data from NASA’s Cassini space probe – which ended in 2017 – previously found that the moon Enceladus contains many of the components required for life on Earth, including carbon, oxygen, and ammonia.

Now, a research team suggested that the tiny moon – smaller than Earth’s satellite – could contain phosphorus, an element that serves as a building block of life.

Phosphorus plays an important role in bone development and the formation of the DNA’s double helix. It also increases agricultural yields when given to plants.

Past findings doubted the presence of phosphorus on Enceladus because the satellite is mainly made up of water and ice – whereas phosphorous on Earth is produced through the weathering of rocks on land.

But this time, the team used computer modeling and data from Cassini to understand how phosphorus-rich minerals from Enceladus’ core might dissolve into its ocean.

While they had no material from the core, their findings proved that the moon’s core is rocky. Their simulations also indicated that some of that composition would render Enceladus particularly rich in phosphorus by reacting with the moon’s ocean water.

The authors explained that the potential for Enceladus holding significant amounts of the element is that the small moon “is more habitable than previously thought.”

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