Image Credit: goo.gl/gwo8Bf
It won’t be any fun at all to visit the largest moon of Saturn. The surface temperature of the natural satellite is around -290 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also interesting to note that the vast seas of it are not filled with water, but they are filled with liquid methane. There are several active volcanoes in Titan. They used to release out methane into the outside atmosphere. These released out methane forms clouds which results into rain or snow.
In this super cold environment of Titan, all forms of life of Earth won’t be able to cope up. But still scientists believe that life could still be possible on there. This life will look completely different than what we can imagine. A team of researchers from Cornell University have imagined and painted a picture of the types of organisms that may live in Titan. They suggest that those organisms are completely methane based and oxygen free. They have completely different cell structure.
Image Credit: goo.gl/4DdU7g
On Earth, the outer membrane of the living cells consists of a bilayer lipid. This lipid bilayer separates the extracellular fluids from the water based intracellular ones. The lipid bilayers used to enclose hollow vesicle, known as liposome. The researchers claimed that the Titan lives also contain cells, but they don’t have an outer shell of lipids. Their cell membranes are consisted of methane based compounds. Due to these methane compounds, their surface temperature is much lower than the freezing point of water.
This life form’s theoretical cell membrane is given the term “azotosome” or “nitrogen body” by researchers. These azotosome would contain hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon molecules. All of these mentioned molecules exist in the methane seas of Titan.
Researchers have found a chemical compound in cryogenic methane called acrylonitrile (C3H3N). Acrylonitrile is a colorless liquid which exists in the atmosphere of Titan. This hydrocarbon has good stability and acts as a strong barrier to decomposition.
Researchers are now trying to know, in the methane environment, how these acryonitrile containing cells would behave. Someday a robotic mission will be sent to Titan to know whether really those lives exist in there. Finally, enjoy this video.
Tag(s) : saturn, satellite, methane based life,