Showing posts with label Titan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Titan. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Alien Lore No. 173 - Our methane-breathing cousins on Saturn: NASA scientists say "alien life exists on Saturn's moon."

Thanks to All This Is That alien lore tipster Jef Clinton for this story

Nasa scientists have discovered evidence 'that alien life exists on Saturn's moon.'     NASA Researchers believe they have discovered vital clues that indicate primitive aliens could be living on the moon.  Hello, cousins!

NASA's Cassini probe has transmitted data back to us that led to extensive analysis of the complex chemistry on the surface of Titan.   Titan is the only Saturn moon with a dense atmosphere.  Astronomers claim the moon is generally too cold to support even liquid water on its surface.

One study, in the journal Icarus, shows hydrogen gas flowing throughout the planet’s atmosphere, showing  that alien forms could possibly breathe. Another paper, in the Journal of Geophysical Research, says there is no hydrogen on the surface of Titan. The hydrogen theory scientists believe the hydrogen may have been consumed by life. Huh?  Like, they used it up?

According to NASA, "researchers expected sunlight interacting with chemicals in the atmosphere to produce acetylene gas. But the Cassini probe did not detect any such gas."

Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA, said: “We suggested hydrogen consumption because it's the obvious gas for life to consume on Titan, similar to the way we consume oxygen on Earth."

"If these signs do turn out to be a sign of life, it would be doubly exciting because it would represent a second form of life independent from water-based life on Earth.”

Professor John Zarnecki, of the Open University, said “We believe the chemistry is there for life to form. It just needs heat and warmth to kick-start the process."

They warned, as these tricksy scientists always do, that there could be other explanations for their findings. However, "taken together, these studies indicate two important conditions necessary for methane-based life to exist."

All photos and quotes are courtesy of NASA.  And we get to use them here because we, the taxpayers, paid for it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Birthday 352nd Birthday Titan!

Saturn's largest moon—Titan—was discovered on March 25, 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, and was the first satellite in the Solar System to be discovered after the Galilean moons of Jupiter. So, I guess it's not really its 352nd birthday after all, but the 352nd anniversary of its discovery. On the other hand, stars, planets, and moons don't really get a chance to celebrate their birthdays, so we'll give this one to Titan.

Titan has a lot of brothers and sisters too: Saturn has 34 known moons. Titan is one of the few moons in our solar system with its own atmosphere.

Titan itself is bigger than the planets Mercury and Pluto (in fact, didn't Pluto just get defrocked with the advent of the 10th planet?). The photograph above is, naturally, from the Cassini voyager.

Other recent All This Is That articles on the solar system:

The tenth planet a/k/a 2003 UB313
Poem: The Tenth Planet (Or An Incredible Facsimile?)

Fantastic new photos of Saturn from the Cassini-Huygens mission
N.S.A. bans photos of Saturn creatures - to avert a run on Depends incontinence products
Photograph Of Mimas, A Moon Of Saturn