Looking for a nice getaway this summer but don't fancy anywhere on planet Earth? You're in luck, because Saturn's ice-cristed moon Eceladus may be to support life greater than any other out there.
Experts say that the discoveries made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft was the 'last piece' in the puzzle which proved that life on Enceladus, a whopping 887 million miles from the sun, was possible.
Prof David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences, The Open University, said: "At present, we know of only one genesis of life, the one that led to us.
"If we knew that life had started independently in two places in our Solar System, then we could be pretty confident that life also got started on some of the tens of billions of planets and moons around other stars in our galaxy."
Research reported in the journal Science says that the jets of ice and gas gushing from the moon's south pole contain molecular hydrogen, 'a chemical characteristic of hydrothermal activity.'
"For a microbiologist thinking about energy for microbes, hydrogen is like the gold coin of energy currency," said Peter Girguis, a deep sea biologist at Harvard University.
"If you had to have one thing, one chemical compound, coming out of a vent that would lead you to think there's energy to support microbial life, hydrogen is at the top of that list."
An astrobiologist at Arizona State University added: "It makes the Enceladus ocean seem a heck of a lot more habitable than we were thinking yesterday. And wouldn't we like to know, is there life living there?"
"Saturn's moon Enceladus has an ice-covered ocean, and a plume of material erupts from cracks in the ice," Professor Hunter Waite, of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, said.
"The plume contains chemical signatures of water-rock interaction between the ocean and a rocky core. We find that the most plausible source of this hydrogen is ongoing hydrothermal reactions of rock containing reduced minerals and organic materials.
"On the modern Earth, geochemically derived fuels such as hydrogen support thriving ecosystems even in the absence of sunlight."
Enceladus 2017 all-inclusive anyone?
Featured Image Credit: NASA