Hot springs on Saturn’s moon might warm enough for life

ISTANBUL: Scientists discovered hot springs on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus which suggests that the floor of the satellite’s subsurface ocean may be home to near-boiling temperatures.

This finding is the first evidence of active hydrothermal vents beyond the oceans of Earth.

“It is the existence of high-temperature rock-water reactions at the present time that surprises me the most, as we would expect Enceladus to be a frozen world,” said study author Hsiang-Wen Sean Hsu, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “It means that there is still a big knowledge gap in understanding how solar system bodies evolve.”

Moreover, conditions deep under the icy surface of Enceladus could be similar to those that gave rise to the first life on Earth, the researchers reported in the new study.

The findings were published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.