Are we the only ones in the universe? Since the discovery of ice-encrusted moons in our solar system, a solution to that age-old issue has looked tantalisingly close.
However, seeking for signs of life in a freezing sea hundreds of millions of kilometres away has enormous obstacles.
The scientific equipment utilised must be exquisitely complicated while also being resistant to severe radiation and freezing temperatures.
To address some of the challenges that future life-detection missions may face
OWLS might be used to study frozen water from a vapour plume spewing from Saturn's moon Enceladus, according to one scenario.
"We sought to build the most powerful instrument system possible for that situation, one that could detect both chemical and biological indicators of life.
whether or not there is proof of life?" said Peter Willis, co-principal investigator and science lead for the study.
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