ALIEN life in our solar system is one step closer to being discovered as NASA scientists discovered “warm” oceans on a moon of Saturn.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed evidence of heat close to the surface of the moon Enceladus.
Warmth has been detected near cracks across the planet’s frozen surface known as “tiger stripes”.
The discovery means relatively warm oceans of liquid water are believed to exist below the surface.
It comes as NASA offered an up-close look at the Trappist-1 exoplanets – believed to be key in the hunt for life.
What is the warm underground ocean really like and could life have evolved there?
Scientists estimate the oceans could be a couple of miles deep into the crust of the moon – much closer than previously thought.
NASA boffins now believe the warm underground oceans could have developed life in the deep darkness.
The project scientists are now calling on the space agency to launch more missions to analyse the ocean world.
Saturn‘s moons are believed to be one of the most likely places life could have developed in our solar system – along with Venus and Mars.
Cassini Project scientist Linda Spilker said: “Finding temperatures near these three inactive fractures that are unexpectedly higher than those outside them adds to the intrigue of Enceladus.
“What is the warm underground ocean really like and could life have evolved there?
“These questions remain to be answered by future missions to this ocean world.”
Cassini’s new mission will end next month when it carries out its closest fly-by to Saturn.
The probe will plunge through the atmosphere of Saturn – transmitting as much data as possible before it loses signal.
It has been analyzing the giant ringed planet since 2004 and has beamed back countless invaluable images and data packets.