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Monday, March 13, 2017

At Titan's surface may be present in life forms unknown to us

The following month, the NASA spacecraft "Cassini" will make his 126th and final passage by Saturn's largest moon Titan. Over its lifetime, the probe "Cassini" allowed scientists to draw up a detailed map of Titan's geologically active as a celestial body, the surface of which flow rivers of liquid hydrocarbons, which the atmosphere has a complex chemical composition, and under the icy crust are probably hiding a saltwater ocean.


However, the main issue related to the Titan still and remains unanswered: whether on the surface of Titan, which resembles the ancient Earth, life, exist?

"The combination of organic substance and liquid in the form of water in the subsurface ocean, and in the form of methane / ethane surface lakes and seas, it means that titanium can be regarded as an ideal location in the solar system to test hypotheses about habitability, prebiotic chemistry, and prevalence of life in the universe, "says Sarah Horst (Sarah Hörst), a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, and one of the authors of the new study.

Titan, whose size is comparable to the size of Mercury, is the only celestial body of the solar system, except for the Earth has a dense atmosphere and stable pools of liquid on the surface. However, instead of water in the lakes of Titan poured with rain the liquid hydrocarbons of which are possible in principle to the formation of organic life.

"Titan may give us the opportunity to discover life in an unfamiliar form us, can exist not only in aqueous solutions, but also in hydrocarbon solvents", - said Elizabeth Turtle (Elizabeth Turtle), a planetary scientist from the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.


The study accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research magazine.

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