Researchers have discovered that Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus features hot springs, hinting that its subsurface ocean has a temperature near boiling point. This represents the first evidence that active hydrothermal vents exist beyond the Earth’s oceans, suggesting that conditions similar to those that started life on Earth could be found on the moon.
Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the moons on Saturn. At just around 314 miles in diameter, it is small enough to fit within the borders of Arizona. Because it’s small, the moon wasn’t discovered until 1789. In 2005, however, it drew attention as NASA’s Cassini spacecraft showed water geysers erupting from the moon. This is what suggested that Enceladus could have liquid water underneath its frozen crust, making it a potential host for life in the solar system.