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D-FOX Developing Information

Is there life on Saturn's ocean-bearing moon Enceladus?

Scientists believe ice-encrusted Enceladus - with an ocean beneath its shell - could have a life-supporting energy source.

An environment that some scientists believe led to life on Earth has been found on Saturn's ocean-bearing moon Enceladus, NASA scientists have said.

A discovery of molecular hydrogen was made in October 2015 - but has only now come to light - when NASA's Cassini spacecraft took samples as it passed 30 miles (49 km) above the moon's southern pole.

Hydrogen molecules were detected in vapour plumes emerging from cracks in Enceladus' surface.

Such conditions occur when hot rocks meet ocean water, and may have led to the beginning of microbial life on Earth more than four billion years ago.

They are said to make Enceladus the only place apart from Earth where a potential energy source for life has been found.

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