Nasa probe detected complex organic molecules in plumes of water and ice as it flew over Enceladus

Blasts of ocean spray that erupt from a moon of Saturn contain complex organic molecules, making it the only place beyond Earth known to harbour crucial constituents for life as we know it.

Astronomers detected the compounds in plumes of water and ice that shoot from huge fractures in the south pole of Enceladus, a 300-mile-wide ice ball that orbits Saturn along with 52 other moons. Enceladus stands out among the planet’s natural satellites because it hosts a global water ocean beneath its frozen crust.

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