Finding life on Saturn’s moon Enceladus might be easier than we thought

New research suggests there are locations on the surface of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, where spacecraft could land to scoop up pristine traces of the key ingredients for life. It’s believed that these biosignatures come from subsurface oceans within the world’s icy shell. 

Enceladus has long been known to harbor organic molecules  —  compounds comprised of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen  —  in its subsurface oceans. Before it plunged to the surface of Saturn in 2017, the Cassini spacecraft flew through plumes of material erupting through fissures in the surface of Enceladus, detecting organic molecules like methane and ethane as well as other complex compounds reaching massive altitudes.