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Complex Hydrocarbons Found in Titan's Air

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posted on Apr, 26 2005 @ 04:44 PM
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www.space.com...


April 26

Complex Hydrocarbons Found in Titan's Air

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- A close flyby of Saturn's big moon Titan by the international Cassini spacecraft revealed an upper atmosphere brimming with complex organic material, a finding that could hold clues to how life arose on Earth, scientists said Monday.

Cassini flew within 638 miles of Titan's frozen surface on April 16 and discovered a hydrocarbon-laced upper atmosphere.

Titan's atmosphere is mainly made up of nitrogen and methane, the simplest type of hydrocarbon. But scientists were surprised to find complex organic material in the latest flyby. Because Titan is extremely cold _ about minus 290 degrees _ scientists expected the organic material to condense and rain down to the surface.

"We are beginning to appreciate the role of the upper atmosphere in the complex carbon cycle that occurs on Titan," said Hunter Waite, a professor at the University of Michigan.

Scientists believe Titan's atmosphere may be similar to that of the primordial Earth and studying it could provide clues to how life began.

The $3.3 billion Cassini mission, funded by NASA and the European and Italian space agencies, was launched in 1997 and took seven years to reach Saturn. The European Huygens probe carried aboard Cassini was released on Dec. 24 and plunged to the surface of Titan in January.

-- Associated Press


this is just some info. i found for you space lovers...

or, at least, titan lovers


ENJOY!!!






posted on Apr, 26 2005 @ 09:21 PM
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Always nice to have an opportunity to learn a bit about pre-ancient Earth. Titan really is a fascinating body, and the Cassini project is one of the better ones yet.

BTW, what's that black thing at the bottom of your background pic?

[edit on 4/26/2005 by Amorymeltzer]



posted on Apr, 26 2005 @ 09:31 PM
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Oh, and uh, there's the ATSNN Article that came first too.


ENJOY!!!




posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 02:16 PM
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Everything else included, I really think this is one of the top 3 of a century... Unless something greater has to come...

Spotted this one on yahoo I think this morning, and I thought "oh yeah?!? so is that proof of life?"

Wow...



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 02:40 PM
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Also note that aromatic carbon molecules have been found floating in space. Apparently they cluster around a star, i think that the idea was that they formed in the early phases of star formation. Also note that amino acids and other complex organic molecules are found in meteors and things called "carbonaceous chondrites', remnants of the formation of the solar system

external image

Here's a neat little astrochemisty site
www.astrochem.org... (links to pdfs)
www.astrochem.org...



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 06:16 AM
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Originally posted by SpookyVince
Everything else included, I really think this is one of the top 3 of a century... Unless something greater has to come...

Spotted this one on yahoo I think this morning, and I thought "oh yeah?!? so is that proof of life?"

Wow...

This isnt such a huge deal. Back in the fities, it was proven that the theoretically conditions that was present after the earth was formed, could create hydrocarbons and other more complex molecules. Even amino acids.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 06:26 AM
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Absolutely.

But what makes me think it is simply great is the fact our stellar system is surely not unique in its kind, and in just this one, we have 4 places (Earth, Mars, Titan, Europe) where life could have been or could exist in the future, including this earth where it is found everywhere at this time... Maybe more even just ou there...

Thinking of the complexity of life, and the fact that the conditions and elements required to have life are more easily found than previsouly expected, I believe that if we could explore the space at will, we would find millions or billions of places able to sustain or sustaining some life form... This is a great find in the sense that it modifies our perception of space in general, and it opens new doors to (speculation, I admit) finding life elsewhere than on earth...



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 08:01 AM
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Well, titan does have a large quantity of methane, which is a simple hydrocarbon. This moon is simply a ball of gas. lets ignite it and get a small star.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 09:17 AM
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Originally posted by Trustnone
Well, titan does have a large quantity of methane, which is a simple hydrocarbon. This moon is simply a ball of gas. lets ignite it and get a small star.


Errr, yeah. Suffice to say it wouldn't be a star, just stinky ball of fire.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 09:19 AM
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Maybe what should not be lost in discussing this is that this is confirmation of what has been postulated for many years. Scientists had stated long before any first-hand data, but based solely on spectrometery, that the atmosphere of Titan was heavy in methane. Way to go spectrometer readers - you nailed this one!



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 09:30 AM
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Complex organic compounds were made over 50 years ago in the laboratory using simple methane, ammonia and water with an energy source in the form of an electric spark. It's nothing new to think such molecules could be created easily in space.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall
Way to go spectrometer readers - you nailed this one!




dj77, is there electricity in the atmosphere on Titan? I was a pretty integral part of the Miller experiment and I don't know of a way offhand to substitute for it. Also, Titan's a wee bit colder.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by SpookyVince

But what makes me think it is simply great is the fact our stellar system is surely not unique in its kind, and in just this one, we have 4 places (Earth, Mars, Titan, Europe) where life could have been or could exist in the future,


Ive allways wondered if life was possible in "Europe". From all reports it isnt.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 12:53 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
(...)
It's nothing new to think such molecules could be created easily in space.


It may not be new, but now we know it from observations, not lab speculations... There is quite a difference there I think...

Now, The Block,

Originally posted by The Block
Ive allways wondered if life was possible in "Europe". From all reports it isnt

That Europe is not certain...
The one Europe where I am: yes! I can testimony.


[Edit]
Some bad typo...

[edit on 1-5-2005 by SpookyVince]



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 01:57 PM
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Originally posted by Valhall
Maybe what should not be lost in discussing this is that this is confirmation of what has been postulated for many years. Scientists had stated long before any first-hand data, but based solely on spectrometery, that the atmosphere of Titan was heavy in methane. Way to go spectrometer readers - you nailed this one!



Yeah it's always nice when things like the fall right where you expected them to be.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 02:29 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
(...)
Yeah it's always nice when things like the fall right where you expected them to be.


Oh yeah, and this is precisely why I love to speculate "wisely": when you're right, people who are usually known as "forever skeptics" go like "oh... all right... there must be something there that I didn't see"... Yeah: the truth buddy!

All speculation is not good, but when it is based on "sane" things, and when it is well done, it can just give clues to science on what is out there to be found... Antoine Labeyrie, a French astronomer, declared in the 80's in a then popular magazine interview that (nearly quotes, I do that from my own souvenirs, plus it was in French obviously) "if science refuses to get involved in crazy things they just might miss the interesting things"... I just love that one!

Sometimes, it doesn't take wonders to go to wonders... Some things are impossible to prove. And the one I like about that: the quadrature of the circle, as far as I know, is impossible. It has not been proven, but funny enough: it has been proven that it is impossible to prove that it is not possible... Can someone get me wrong here?

People around this world seem to forget about what is good intuition... Most ones refuse things as far as those things are not enclosed in what other ones have defined to be normality!

I sometimes look a bit geeky if I flatly state that I do believe that aliens have visited this world. Right, which one is the most believable? Are we desperately all alone in here or not alone but stupidly advanced enough to be the ones to be not found? Or are we just a piece of a gigantic cosmic puzzle involving life wherever it is likely or just even remotely possible?

Right... I'm going a bit of topic, but hey... follow me there: there are just billions of places for life to be, so why not another one in our system? We know that it is already possible: we are here.

I don't think it is just a coincidence. Science has speculated on that for a long time, and the people who have been doing that knew what they were talking about. Now, we just have more means to bring a proof.

So what about the future??? OK, when we'll have the means to get something out there in "deep space", easily, and see novaes or supernovaes, distants systems or galaxies, other stuff like nebulaes (the horsehead is one of my favorites) or stuff, maybe a few millenia away, then there are things out there that we wouldn't have known, and things that some people had been speculating about way before that we will be able to see.

Speculating is speculating, it is not the truth, but it is the only way so far for people to think about unknown things. It is the only way of advancing, or evolving. It is not wrong anyway when it is well done. There are mistakes obviously, but we need those "crazy minds" to go forward.

And if an error is made, well, no problem... Coca Cola was at first supposed to be a cough syrup (sp?).

Don't dismiss an idea because it doesn't fit the current system of beliefs. It could be right in a few years...



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 05:27 PM
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I doubt there's any lightning on Titan but it gets some radiation, it would probably occur more slowly, but it's had billions of years to accumulate the compounds.



posted on May, 1 2005 @ 10:00 PM
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Why not? Still Titan may end up being nothing but a big fuel farm say 100 years from now. Of course we will kill any life form there just to get fuel. By then Americans will average 500 lbs overweight and drive 12 ton SUVs. We will need lots o Hydro to power all the equipment needed to carry our obesity around. Sorry for the dig at my own people but I feel like one of the last healthy non obese Americans left.



posted on May, 2 2005 @ 09:26 PM
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*points SunofSpy to PTS*



posted on May, 3 2005 @ 02:50 AM
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Originally posted by Trustnone
Well, titan does have a large quantity of methane, which is a simple hydrocarbon. This moon is simply a ball of gas. lets ignite it and get a small star.
This moon is far too small to sustain any type of reaction to create a small star. Also, the lack of oxygen would quelch any other type of sustained burn. You'll have more luck with your butt and a bic lighter (blue angel?:puz
This may very well be the "gas station" of the solar system in the early days of interplanetary travel. (until we figure out that Warp Drive thing)



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