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Life on Titan? A new paper looks at the evidence and ideas....

29 Feb 2016, 21:34 UTC
Life on Titan? A new paper looks at the evidence and ideas....
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Above: An artists impression  of Titan's strange surfaceSaturn's largest moon, Titan, is a very strange place where some very strange things are happening: Methane lakes, magic islands, chemical imbalances, plasti-karst landscapes, prebiotic snow,  and Methane rain are just a taster of what this weird, frozen-yet-active, moon has to teach us. But there's a big question we'd like to answer even more: Could this weird moon harbour life - or at least something equivalent to life, for an environment hundreds of degrees below freezing where it rains methane?Above: Titan's lake district, as seen through the Cassini space probes infra red camera. Courtesy of NASA.A study from Christopher Mackey, at NASA's Ames Research Center, has been released to give the world a view on where we are when it comes to answering that question. I'll quote part of the conclusions below. The paper itself is free to download here."....it may be that if there is life in the liquids on Titan’s surface it may be simple, heterotrophic, slow to metabolize, and slow to adapt with limited genetic and metabolic complexity. The simple molecules needed for metabolism may be widespread in the environment and in the methane/ethane liquids, but the complex organics needed ...

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