Alien life may be thriving in a warm underground ocean on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, research suggests.
Scientists in Austria found an ultra-rare microbe in a sewage plant that they think is equipped to thrive on the desolate moon.
The moon — described as a “hot spot” in the search for alien life — could be harboring methane-breathing bacteria, according to researchers from Austria’s Universität Wien.
The team found several species of microbe that could theoretically thrive in the underground sea.
Two were originally found in earth’s volcanoes, while another popped up in a sewage plant.
Last year NASA spacecraft Cassini found the first evidence of chemical reactions deep below the frozen crust, suggesting an environment capable of supporting life.
Lead researcher Dr. Simon Rittmann told MailOnline: “If you know where these microbes survive on Earth, the results are not that surprising.”
“These organisms have a very special and ancient physiology — they are one of the first evolutionary developments on this planet.”
“Our results suggest that these organisms or similar could exist on Enceladus.”
“We have just confirmed that organisms from Earth can survive in these conditions, but it is impossible for us to say whether or not anything actually lives there.”
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