CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- A tiny, ice-encrusted ocean world orbiting Saturn is now a hotter-than-ever candidate for potential life.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has detected hydrogen molecules in the geysers shooting off the moon Enceladus, possibly the result of deep-sea chemical reactions between water and rock that could spark microbial life.
The findings were announced Thursday in the journal Science.
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NASA and others are quick to point out this latest discovery does not mean there's life on Enceladus, but that there may be conditions favorable for life.
A liquid ocean exists beneath the icy surface of Enceladus, which is barely 300 miles (500 kilometers) across. Plumes of water vapor spew from cracks at the moon's south pole.