- Titan harbours the only other verified bodies of liquid on the surface of a planet/moon
- Lakes are composed of liquid methane
- Reaction between UV light and methane could produce organic molecules i.e. amino acids
- Should we sit back and let it be?
Recently, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft did a fly-by of Saturn and noticed something unexpected on its largest moon of Titan. In the so-called tropical area of the moon, where temperatures rise to a high point of −179 °C (or −290 °F), it appears that there are lakes of liquid methane. This is a surprise to scientists who previously assumed that liquid bodies could only exist near the poles.
|Imagine being on the surface of Titan|
|Could life exist in these bodies of liquid?|
These finds are significant for two reasons. For one, it means that life might actually exist on Saturn’s largest moon. The chemical reactions in question involving UV light and methane gas might very well be able to produce organic molecules such as amino acids, the building blocks of life. And second, it could mean the planet would be a suitable candidate for terraforming some day. Liquid methane might not be suitable for humans, but with the right kind of equipment and chemical know-how, it could be converted into water and water vapor without much trouble.
|Whereas the Black Sea covers 0.085 percent of Earth's surface, the observed body on Titan covers at least 0.12 percent of Titan's surface.|
Source: I09 Magazine.