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Is there life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa?

16 November 2011 Last updated at 22:31 GMT

Data from a NASA spacecraft has provided scientists with evidence of what seems to be a body of water beneath the icy surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa.

Analysis of the moon's surface suggests plumes of warmer water well up beneath its icy shell, melting and fracturing the outer layers.

The results, published in the journal Nature, predict that small lakes exist only 3km below the crust.

From models of magnetic forces, and images of its surface, scientists have long suspected that a giant ocean, roughly 160km (100 miles) deep, lies somewhere between 10-30km beneath the ice crust.

The lead author of the study, Britney Schmidt, said Europa was exciting to scientists as it could be a place, other that Earth, where life already exists in the solar system.