Mars dominates the search for life beyond Earth, but a growing number of scientists believe our efforts should be directed towards a world that, on the face it, seems a most unlikely candidate for extraterrestrial life – Enceladus.
Above: Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus, is tiny (measuring just 500km across) and is more than 1.4 billion km away from the Sun – both facts that would seem to count against it as a potential habit for life. This image was taken Nasa's Saturn probe, Cassini. Enceladus is in the foreground with Saturn’s rings behind it and looming in the distance is Saturn’s largest moon, Titan
For life (as we know it) to evolve and survive, it requires three essential ingredients – water, energy and organic chemicals. But how can a tiny frozen moon so far from the Sun possibly possess any of these ingredients?