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For more than two decades, scientists have wondered whether extraterrestrial life may be flourishing deep below the icy coatings boasted by moons in our outer solar system.

Spacecraft like the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn have stumbled on evidence that some of their moons hide global oceans, warmed by the pull of the giant planet they orbit. And oceanic explorers much closer to home have discovered dynamic communities living in darkness around geologic features on the ocean floor. Combine the two and it’s easy to be carried away with dreams of alien seafloors teeming with microbes. But new research is looking deeper, into the rock itself, and suggesting that these worlds may be dead inside—not just biologically, but geologically as well.

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Category: News