What’s more, is these hardy microbes could be eating hydrogen that is produced by interactions between water and rock beneath the icy surface of Enceladus.
For these reasons, top scientists are now calling for missions to Enceladus in the hope of discovering life for the first time away from Earth.
Amanda Hendrix, a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, said during a presentation coordinated by the National Academies of Sciences, said: “Enceladus is the only confirmed current habitable environment beyond Earth, it’s the only world meeting the canonical requirements for habitability.
“The next step is to search for signatures of life in the Enceladus ocean materials, and Enceladus makes it easy because it ejects its ocean material into space.
“We now know that there’s a lot of ocean worlds in our solar system and each as we currently understand it is unique and each offers something different to our understanding of ocean worlds.