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Saturn's Moon Titan May be More Earth-Like Than Thought

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posted on Jan, 16 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by ButterCookie
We will never progress as a society and expand our knowledge and acceptance of the universe as long as we remain undoubtedly ARROGANT= "Life can only exist where it has what WE have...blah blah blah".


I don't know if anybody is saying that life can only exist here on Earth. I'll say that for now, Earth is certainly the only place where we know life actually exists, and we have no evidence yet that it exists anywhere else. We might someday. But not now. I don't think stating facts is arrogant.

And it's not arrogant to say that we could still turn out to be the only planet in the universe with life on it. It could mean that it only makes life more special, or it could mean that it makes life even more pointless, since when we're gone all of our efforts and dreams will have added up to nothing, since there is no one else who cares.




posted on Jan, 16 2012 @ 03:57 PM
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I think buttercookie is being arrogant with the use of capitols to try and put others down. It was an opinion. I am definatly open to the thought of other planets sustaining life in our system and even consider the ancient astronaut theory plausible. So I really don't think I was being arrogant. Naive? Quite possibly, arrogant? No way.



posted on Jan, 16 2012 @ 04:03 PM
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reply to post by ButterCookie
 


I think they would be single celled because that would be a very efficient form in what is likely a very low energy environment. Single celled doesn't imply to me to be primitive and unimpressive. Really 'primitive' and simple bacteria can survive incredible extremes of temperature, pressure, and environments that are incredibly toxic to 'conventional' life. Some of the most interesting things to me here on Earth are the protists, which are often single celled. For example, malaria has a really impressive and unique, if physically torturous, cycle in the human body

Europa's oceans would likely be an exception to mostly single celled organisms though, should there be significant volcanism. Judging from undersea volcanic vents here on earth there are advantages to being multicelluar there.
edit on 16-1-2012 by Mkoll because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 02:46 AM
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reply to post by mainidh
 


That's actually faulty logic. Life needing "perfect" conditions to begin and then over millions of years adapting to ever more treacherous environments would account for life being found in hostile environments on Earth and preclude its existence in places that have no ideal setting for life to begin at all. I of course can not prove that is how it must happen, but you can not prove it is not, thus faulty logic on your part.



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 02:49 AM
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reply to post by ButterCookie
 


I was unaware Venus and Neptune were found to have sentient life. Can you link me to where I can read about this amazing discovery??



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 05:56 PM
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Originally posted by Blue Shift
I don't think stating facts is arrogant.

And it's not arrogant to say that we could still turn out to be the only planet in the universe with life on it.

The person Buttercookie was criticising wasn't stating facts they were making guesses.

It may not be arrogant to state that, " to say that we could still turn out to be the only planet in the universe with life on it," but it ignores evidence that it may very well not be. Furthermore, I don't think I have met a scientist who thinks it is likely that Earth is the only place with life.
 



Originally posted by ProudBird
Namely, that Titan, while an interesting place, is not very "Earth-like" simply because it's darn cold.......well outside the "Goldilocks Zone" in our Solar System, being well too far from the Sun.

The Goldilocks zone is geocentric, carbon/water biased and makes too many assumptions about what forms life may take.

I am going to put forward one possibility for just water based life. We can not even conceive how many other possible types of life there are and where they may originate from - the Universe is VERY BIG!

We already know of ecosystems that rely on hydrothermal vents and not the Sun for their food source. Hydrothermal vents have also been proposed as where life may have originated. Hydrothermal vents could exist outside the Goldilocks zone so lets get out of the box, free our minds a bit and at least admit WE HAVE GOOD EVIDENCE THE GOLDILOCKS ZONE IS A FALLACY.

Michael Russell & Co: Hydrothermal vents and the origin of life



edit on 17/1/12 by Pimander because: (no reason given)

edit on 17/1/12 by Pimander because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by Pimander
 


Yes, I realize this:


The Goldilocks zone is geocentric and carbon/water biased and makes too many assumptions about what forms life may take.


I believe there were comments edited out where I mentioned it.

But, the title says "....Titan May be More Earth-Like Than Thought." SO far, here on Earth, we could be said to be "geocentric and carbon/water biased", since that's about what we see, here.

If there were some life form equivalent on Titan that had evolved to use liquid methane (for example) in lieu of water, and utilize other elements and compounds present (even if the chemical reactions for life are possible, in those combinations), then I daresay this life would have a hard time surviving here on our planet, should it ever have the misfortune to be brought here.


Here's something I find interesting to add, though. Reviewing the details of its (Titan's) orbit. It's amazing that the average diameter of the orbit about 2,443,740 (based on Wiki's data of the semi-major axis of 1,221,870). Yet, it completes each orbit in only about 16 days (Earth days).

Compare to our Moon, and an orbit that's about 768,798 km, and its orbital period of 27-28 days.

The distance in circumference that Titan has to cover, is just a bit more than three times the distance that our Moon travels, per orbit (simplistically) in only about half the time.

It's really whipping around Saturn.....so, I thought, with Saturn's higher gravity, and this orbital motion, there could be some significant tidal forces at work affecting Titan. These could lead to crustal stresses, and internal heating.

Also, being "tidally locked" (synchronous) to Saturn, the conditions could be very different, depending on hemisphere. Not to mention any other possible effects, influences and perturbations from the other Saturnian satellites.









edit on Tue 17 January 2012 by ProudBird because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 06:26 PM
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reply to post by Pimander
 


The Goldilocks will help us find worlds out there that have a higher likelihood of supporting complex (read Earth-like) life. It is not an absolute limit at all, but worlds within that zone will have some advantages in terms of carrying capacity and liquid water availability that places like Mars and Venus don't have.

Anyways, until we know more about the potential forms and tricks of life that we didn't know about before don't you think it makes sense (at least in terms of exoplanet exploration) to look for what we DO know?



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by ProudBird
 

Yes, the large moons around Saturn and Jupiter are fascinating because they have probable internal sources or heat caused by tidal forces. Add water and chemicals and you have precisely the conditions many scientists think were responsible for biogenesis on Earth. Why does the genesis have to have been on Earth if there are other places where this can happen?

Then, of course we, have panspermia etc. So absorbing. What a great field don't you think?



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 08:22 PM
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Originally posted by Mkoll
The Goldilocks will help us find worlds out there that have a higher likelihood of supporting complex (read Earth-like) life. It is not an absolute limit at all, but worlds within that zone will have some advantages in terms of carrying capacity and liquid water availability that places like Mars and Venus don't have.
Don't forget, Europa is not within the Goldilocks Zone.


Originally posted by Mkoll
Anyways, until we know more about the potential forms and tricks of life that we didn't know about before don't you think it makes sense (at least in terms of exoplanet exploration) to look for what we DO know?
Well let's look for water on the Galilean Moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Serious commitment to funding a probe to Europa looks like it's worth a punt. One in 25 years that may burrow below the ice is a bit slow for my liking. If only we could spend the money that is wasted on weapons on space exploration instead...
edit on 17/1/12 by Pimander because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 09:40 PM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
reply to post by ButterCookie
 


I was unaware Venus and Neptune were found to have sentient life. Can you link me to where I can read about this amazing discovery??


No. It was a figure of speech... The point was that whatever life on those planets could very well be thinking that they are alone because it those on Venus, it is too cold here on Earth. and so on.



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 09:50 PM
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Originally posted by Mkoll
reply to post by Pimander
 


The Goldilocks will help us find worlds out there that have a higher likelihood of supporting complex (read Earth-like) life. It is not an absolute limit at all, but worlds within that zone will have some advantages in terms of carrying capacity and liquid water availability that places like Mars and Venus don't have.

Anyways, until we know more about the potential forms and tricks of life that we didn't know about before don't you think it makes sense (at least in terms of exoplanet exploration) to look for what we DO know?


Again, why is only 'Earth-like' life deemed complex? As I stated earlier, some people like supposing that any other form elsewhere outside of Earth can only be micro-organic. What does this do? It keeps earthlings at the top of the totem poll.

Pimander is correct with the statement about the beloved 'Goldielocs' zone...Why is it that humans just so happen to be graced with the luck to be on the only life-supporting planet, out of all the billions of planets in the billions of star-systems?

Wouldn't Martians feel that they are in the Goldilocs zone? After all, can they not (theoretically) survive in temps and conditions of Mars?

Same for Uranus...Jupitor.....Mercury......the many moons?

Humans have not considered other life, whether verifiable or not, when they assert that only WE are in the Goldielocs zone. It is subjective to the inhabitant.


edit on 17-1-2012 by ButterCookie because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 09:59 PM
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While I think Titan is a very interesting object in our solar system for a variety of reasons, I think saying it's "Earth-Like" is a bit of stretch. Still it's very interesting. Any place that has large amounts of organic compounds would always be a place to look further.



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 11:06 PM
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reply to post by ButterCookie
 


Did you not read my earlier post where I said there is probably multicellular life on Europa? And the part where I said that extraterrestrial unicellular life is not unimportant or uninteresting? I honestly think you're looking for controversy when we are all in agreement for the most part.

I do maintain that the Goldilocks zone is relevant, even if it is probably too restricted and unimaginative, because liquid water on the surface of a rocky planet is a good goddamned formula for life. I feel like liquid water is a necessary component of what we CURRENTLY define life as. There is a good chance, I feel that there are other ways of getting something we could define as life, but until we stumble across an amazing discovery like that, I at least have no flippin clue how that would work. I'm sorry that I think in earth-centric terms, but seeing as that is all I know, and I am an imperfect being, I find it hard to think of life in other terms. Feel free to enlighten me if you have a theory.

I think there is currently life on Mars, and quite possibly on Venus as well. Spectral analysis of Mars has shown production of Methane in the equatorial region during the Martian summer. I think this is a pretty strong indicator of microbial life there. To be honest I think it is wishful thinking to think that life there can be more complex than that on Mars today, seeing as the Methane production is seasonal. If they could go all year round they could. This shows that they are somewhat limited. They survive there but the have to go into stasis until the Martian summer because the thin layer of liquid water in the permafrost that lets them do their thing only exists during the summer. Don't forget that in the past Mars was very different, and I think it hosted a thriving biosphere, but because Mars is so much smaller than Earth, its core cooled much faster and ground to a halt, stopping the magnetic field that protected the atmosphere. The lack of shielding from the solar wind eventually blew away most of the atmosphere, with catastrophinc results for all but the hardiest of organisms. Those being microbial life. It is no disrespect to talk about microbial life. Those are some hard little dudes. Think about it. They are chugging away when the rest of their world is dead.

Venus is an altogether different beast, but I think there is probably a layer in the atmosphere which is pretty viable for life, but I have no idea how possible it is.

Europa is a very, very good candidate for complex life, in my opinion, due to the tidal forces heating its core and our knowledge of geothermally powered ecosystems

SO FAR planets with liquid water on their surface (in liquid form, not gaseous or solid, only because temperature due to a combination of proper heating from the sun and atmospheric properties inculding greenhouse effect) are the only type of planet we know of where life can thrive on the scale necessary to convert the atmosphere to an oxygen nitrogen mix. The oxygen is important because it is a critical component in most metabolisms we know (There are likely others. Who knows, maybe there are sentient beings somewhere breathing sulfur?) Cellular respiration involving oxygen is something like FORTY times (I think, AP biology was a while ago) more powerful in terms of ATP produced than other metabolisms we know, anoxic fermentation, for example. It is this abundance of energy allowed by oxygen that allows life, at least here, to speed up, do things faster, evolve faster.

In short, abundant liquid water on the surface of a planet is pretty much a guarantee for like

So in conclusion, we know what works well, so we look for it out among the stars. We don't know what also might work well, so we will go out and DISCOVER it, and when we do, it will push our knowledge of the universe that much further



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 11:13 PM
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In reference to this talk about the "Goldilocks Zone" and where life can be fuelled from Im going to throw another "out there" theory into the debate.

Nemesis....the Suns "dark star" Binary Twin.

If this body is real, it could provide heat to the planets orbiting it (Nubiru, several other small bodies speculated). Even thou it is not bright enough to light up their worlds like our sun does, the "dark" heat given off by this "star" could in theory warm the planets that orbit it on its path through space.

This external heat (and possibly internal too due to gravity forces against its crust) could make it a warm dark place for life to exist.

Now, if its dark.....wouldnt any life living there have huge eyes.....like the greys?

I know its "out there" but I do beleive anything is possible.



posted on Jan, 17 2012 @ 11:34 PM
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reply to post by Melbourne_Militia
 


There was one book I read where the setting was a moon orbiting a very large gas giant named Marduk which orbited a red dwarf. Marduk gave off enough thermal radiation to keep the tidal locked moon relatively comfy on the Marduk side but pretty chilly on the far side, while the local sun gave off enough light to see by, although appreciably less than the sun. Basically the moon was heated by the same principle you just described, although anything that can be described as a sun undergoes nuclear fusion at its core which produces visible light. Sub-stellar brown dwarfs exist, and I think they give off heat and a bit of light, but since we have actually detected those, if one hypothetically was part of a binary system with our sun I would imagine we would be able to find it, because relative to cosmic distance, it is right next door.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by Mkoll


Originally posted by Mkoll
reply to post by ButterCookie
 

I do maintain that the Goldilocks zone is relevant, even if it is probably too restricted and unimaginative, because liquid water on the surface of a rocky planet is a good goddamned formula for life. I feel like liquid water is a necessary component of what we CURRENTLY define life as. There is a good chance, I feel that there are other ways of getting something we could define as life, but until we stumble across an amazing discovery like that, I at least have no flippin clue how that would work. I'm sorry that I think in earth-centric terms, but seeing as that is all I know, and I am an imperfect being, I find it hard to think of life in other terms. Feel free to enlighten me if you have a theory.


Mainstream scientists have already come up with definitions of life that do not presuppose liquid water, as well as theories about how it would work.

I suggest you have a look at the 2007 book-length report The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems, which is the work of a sub-committee of the National Research Council of the USA, which you can read for free online, or download free as a PDF.

The authors of this report proceed from a definition of life as "a chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution". They look at the limiting conditions for life thus defined.

Chapter 6 of this report is entitled "Why Water? Towards More Exotic Habitats", and looks specifically at whether living things beyond Earth could do their chemistry with solvents other than water. Non-polar solvents such as liquid methane are considered. A conclusion they reach in that chapter is that life on Titan is a serious possibility: "if life is an intrinsic property of chemical reactivity, life should exist on Titan".
edit on 22-1-2012 by ColinRobinson because: Added "reply to" line at beginning...



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 01:41 AM
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Originally posted by ButterCookie

Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
reply to post by ButterCookie
 


I was unaware Venus and Neptune were found to have sentient life. Can you link me to where I can read about this amazing discovery??


No. It was a figure of speech... The point was that whatever life on those planets could very well be thinking that they are alone because it those on Venus, it is too cold here on Earth. and so on.


It's not a figure of speech, it was presupposition that was .. wait for it ... arrogant. Your view that life is there is the only correct one. Again you refer to life on these planets "thinking". I get your point about us not limiting ourselves to Earth like lifeforms, but how about we go with science, and not your feelings. Science knows of no other viable forms of life.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04



I get your point about us not limiting ourselves to Earth like lifeforms, but how about we go with science, and not your feelings. Science knows of no other viable forms of life.


It's true that right now the only forms of life found by earthling scientists are those that flourish here on Earth, and consist of carbon-chain molecules and liquid water.
So what does that tell us about Titan, where there are carbon-chain molecules and liquid methane and/or ethane?

Even if you doubt that life in liquid methane would be viable, please consider this... If it were viable, if it did exist, would we humans have found it?

How could we, when the only places we've examined for living things are Earth and (a lot less thoroughly!) the surface of Mars?

Would we expect to find liquid-methane life on planets too hot for liquid methane? Or would we expect to find it on a world just right for liquid methane – in the Goldilocks zone for that substance?

You are right, OccamsRazor04 – we don't know that life can happen on a world like Titan. Not do we know that it can't. And we will not know, one way or the other, until a lander is sent there with equipment to make an inventory of complex molecules and to look for micro-structures.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 05:28 PM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04

Originally posted by ButterCookie

Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
reply to post by ButterCookie
 


I was unaware Venus and Neptune were found to have sentient life. Can you link me to where I can read about this amazing discovery??


No. It was a figure of speech... The point was that whatever life on those planets could very well be thinking that they are alone because it those on Venus, it is too cold here on Earth. and so on.


It's not a figure of speech, it was presupposition that was .. wait for it ... arrogant. Your view that life is there is the only correct one. Again you refer to life on these planets "thinking". I get your point about us not limiting ourselves to Earth like lifeforms, but how about we go with science, and not your feelings. Science knows of no other viable forms of life.



And where have scientist explored for other life?

Because if you are confident that scientist are right when they say there is no other life, than on Earth, you should know just how much of space has been explored....

Let's see.....

We wouldn't live long enough to leave our galaxy (100,00 light years across)...oh and thats 1 of BILLIONS of galaxies

We only have probes that leave our star-system (voyager 1 recently made it close to the edge of the solar system, set out 34 years ago

We have only been to ONE moon out of the 336 classified moons ( not counting the unclassified objects and asteroids)

We have only explored about 20% of our very own planet Earth....

But we are SURE that we have seen the entire universe to say that life only exists here....

how VERY ignorant and arrogant.



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