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Is Nasa about to announce it has found alien life on another planet? That was the gist of the headlines last night after the US space agency issued an invitation to a press conference this Thursday promising an 'astrobiology discovery'.
WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.
Despite these biological possibilities, there are formidable obstacles to life on Titan, and any analogy to Earth is inexact. At a vast distance from the Sun, Titan is frigid (a fact exacerbated by the anti-greenhouse effect of its cloud cover), and its atmosphere lacks CO2. Because of these difficulties, scientists such as Jonathan Lunine have viewed Titan less as a likely habitat for life, than as an experiment for examining theories on the conditions that prevailed prior to the appearance of life on Earth. While life itself may not exist, the prebiotic conditions of the Titanian environment and the associated organic chemistry remain of great interest in understanding the early history of the terrestrial biosphere. Using Titan as a prebiotic experiment involves not only observation through spacecraft, but laboratory experiment, and chemical and photochemical modeling on Earth.
An alternate explanation for life's hypothetical existence on Titan has been proposed: if life were to be found on Titan, it would be statistically more likely to have originated from Earth than to have appeared independently, a process known as panspermia. It is theorized that large asteroid and cometary impacts on Earth's surface have caused hundreds of millions of fragments of microbe-laden rock to escape Earth's gravity. Calculations indicate that a number of these would encounter many of the bodies in the solar system, including Titan. On the other hand, Jonathan Lunine has argued that any living things in Titan's cryogenic hydrocarbon lakes would need to be so different chemically from Earth life that it would not be possible for one to be the ancestor of the other.
Originally posted by infinite
reply to post by InfaRedMan
It means life did not start once, but TWICE on Earth. Our planet is home to not just carbon-based, but arsenic based too. If we locate methane-based, which is HIGHLY probably now - it means Titan has occupants.
Originally posted by jazz10
reply to post by MissSmartypants
I've just posted a thread regarding DARPA's X37B and its due back.
Here's a funny thing what if it went up empty and is returning with passengers.
Early christmas present for all.
Seriously though, the timing is good for your thread.