Saturn's moon Dione may have subsurface liquid oceans

Credit: NASA

While NASA has the Kepler telescope scouring the galaxy for potentially habitable worlds, a small moon in our own solar system has just been found to be a potential home for alien life. The moon's name is Dione, and it's a small, icy orb orbiting Saturn. It just might be home to large subsurface bodies of water, and where there's water, there's potential for life.

The news of its potential habitability comes from the Cassini spacecraft, the same space-faring vessel that recently shed light on Saturn's super-massive hurricane. Dione isn't the first of Saturn's moons that Cassini has discovered to harbor water either. First there was Encleadus, home to some serious ice geysers. And let's not forget Titan's 200 mile-long river.

And now Cassini has added Dione to the list. The discovery was made by way of a faint stream of particles emanating from Dione's surface. That particle stream, upon analysis, suggests that Dione is a less active version of Encleadus. Slushy, subterranean bodies of liquid lie below the moon's icy crust, erupting from time to time through ancient fissures. Whether those bodies of liquidy slush actually are home to life will have to be left to a future mission — one which Cassini just put on the interplanetary map.


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