Titan Probably Doesn’t Have the Amino Acids Needed for Life to Emerge

Image of Titan’s surface obtained by the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe from an approximate altitude of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) during the probe’s slow descent to the surface on January 14, 2005. (Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Does Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, possess the necessary ingredients for life to exist? This is what a recent study published in Astrobiology hopes to address as a team of international researchers led by Western University investigated if Titan, with its lakes of liquid methane and ethane, could possess the necessary organic materials, such as amino acids, that could be used to produce life on the small moon. This study holds the potential to help researchers and the public better understand the geochemical and biological processes necessary for life to emerge throughout the cosmos.

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Should We Send Humans to Titan?

Universe Today recently examined the potential for sending humans to Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, and the planet Venus, both despite their respective harsh surface environments. While human missions to these exceptional worlds could be possible in the future, what about farther out in the solar system to a world with much less harsh surface conditions, although still inhospitable for human life? Here, we will investigate whether Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, could be a feasible location for sending humans sometime in the future. Titan lacks the searing temperatures and crushing pressures of Venus along with the harsh radiation experienced on Europa. So, should we send humans to Titan?

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The Largest Sea On Titan Could Be Over 300 Meters Deep

The Earth’s oceans are notoriously unexplored, and stand as a monument to the difficult of exploring underwater.  But they aren’t the only unexplored seas in the solar system.  Titan’s vast collection of liquid methane lakes are another challenge facing future solar system explorers. 

A submarine mission to Saturn’s largest moon has long been under discussion.  More recently, scientists have discovered that if such a mission was ever launched, it would have plenty of room to operate, because Titan’s largest sea is likely more than 300 m (1000 ft) deep.

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