Behold: a high definition image of Enceladus – the sixth largest of Saturn’s moons – captured during a flyby by the Cassini spacecraft, which orbited the ringed gas giant from 2004 to 2017. Evidence of extraterrestrial life? To wit:
A reason to think that life may exist there are long features — dubbed ‘tiger stripes’ — that are known to be spewing ice from the moon’s icy interior into space. These surface cracks create clouds of fine ice particles over the moon’s South Pole and create Saturn‘s mysterious E-ring. (/) The unusual surface tiger stripes are shown in false-colour blue. Why Enceladus is active remains a mystery, as the neighbouring moon Mimas, approximately the same size, appears quite dead. A recent analysis of ejected ice grains has yielded evidence that complex organic molecules exist inside Enceladus. These large carbon-rich molecules bolster — but do not prove — that oceans under Enceladus’ surface could contain life. Another Solar System moon that might contain underground life is Europa.