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Ice-bound seas just keep getting hotter – at least as candidates for life beyond Earth. Fresh discoveries have put two moons in our solar system neck and neck in the race.

In December, astronomers announced hints of watery plumes spurting from Jupiter's large moon Europa, potentially giving us a peek into a vast ocean likely to exist beneath its ice. Saturn's moon Enceladus stole back the limelight last week, when NASA reported firm evidence of an ocean linked to geysers at its south pole (see diagram, below).

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