Astronomers say that Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons, appears to be harboring an exciting surprise.
Scientists have long suspected that the sixth largest Saturn moon might hold liquid water under its icy surface. Now, an analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini space probe — which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004 — shows that the Saturn moon may hold a small ocean under its thick ice covering, CNN notes.
Researchers say that Enceladus may have an ocean hidden under between 18 and 24 miles of ice at its south pole. Under the ice of the Saturn moon, that ocean could be between 5 and 10 miles deep and hold as much water as Lake Superior.
Outside of Earth, only a few other places in the solar system are thought to possibly harbor liquid water. Those include another Saturn moon called Titan as well as Jupiter moons, Callisto, Ganymede and Europa.
The existence of a sub-ice layer ocean on the Saturn moon is of interest to scientists because liquid water is considered an essentially condition to the possible evolution of life.