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A moon of Saturn may have 'tropical' lakes

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posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 07:45 PM
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Scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature that the moon Titan may have methane lakes among the dunes that pervade the tropics, the region of the moon between 20 degrees of latitude north and 20 degrees of latitude south.

Like Earth, Titan has clouds, rain and lakes, though they're made up of methane instead of water.

Scientists theorize that the conditions on Titan, which is the only moon in our solar system with an atmosphere, are capable of harboring microbial life, suggesting that organisms could live in methane lakes, as they do in water lakes on Earth.



source


Greetings, ATS!

Came across this article in my perusing of the internet. Found it interesting and thought I'd share.
Enjoy!




posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 08:01 PM
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One of the first things I learned in science class was that we are a Carbon based life form. The only element in nature that can replace Carbon in organic matter is Silicone. So now try to imagine a Silicon based life form.


Wish I could remember that teachers name.

So I think it likely life could survive anywhere, just not a form of life we have seen yet.
edit on 13-6-2012 by coven83 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 08:01 PM
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Awesome post. I find this so interesting!

Makes you wonder what else is going on up there.



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 08:08 PM
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reply to post by coven83
 


Loved this post! Thanks for the laugh!

I wonder what a methane-based life form would look like. Pretty sure I can imagine what it would smell like.



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 08:16 PM
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Thanks for sharing. This is pretty cool. I wish they would post the pictures they studied to come up with the theory.

They say it rains and has methane lakes. So I'm assuming it only rains methane? Very interesting.



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 10:41 PM
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Originally posted by coven83
One of the first things I learned in science class was that we are a Carbon based life form. The only element in nature that can replace Carbon in organic matter is Silicone. So now try to imagine a Silicon based life form.


Wish I could remember that teachers name.

So I think it likely life could survive anywhere, just not a form of life we have seen yet.
edit on 13-6-2012 by coven83 because: (no reason given)


They've actually expanded somewhat beyond silicon:

en.wikipedia.org...

aresenic, boron ....several others. It's ok, it's been a while since we were way back in our school days



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 11:56 PM
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Originally posted by coven83
One of the first things I learned in science class was that we are a Carbon based life form. The only element in nature that can replace Carbon in organic matter is Silicone. So now try to imagine a Silicon based life form.


Wish I could remember that teachers name.

So I think it likely life could survive anywhere, just not a form of life we have seen yet.
edit on 13-6-2012 by coven83 because: (no reason given)


Silicone can't replace carbon, it has a few similarities, but lacks one of the most important one. The ability to form complex chains. Silicone does not have this.



posted on Jun, 13 2012 @ 11:59 PM
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Originally posted by PurpleChiten

Originally posted by coven83
One of the first things I learned in science class was that we are a Carbon based life form. The only element in nature that can replace Carbon in organic matter is Silicone. So now try to imagine a Silicon based life form.


Wish I could remember that teachers name.

So I think it likely life could survive anywhere, just not a form of life we have seen yet.
edit on 13-6-2012 by coven83 because: (no reason given)


They've actually expanded somewhat beyond silicon:

en.wikipedia.org...

aresenic, boron ....several others. It's ok, it's been a while since we were way back in our school days


None of which have the unique properties of carbon that makes life possible. As much as it would be great to have this kind of diversity, it is highly unlikely, and almost impossible for anything other than the most basic of lifeforms to develop.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 12:51 AM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04

Originally posted by PurpleChiten

Originally posted by coven83
One of the first things I learned in science class was that we are a Carbon based life form. The only element in nature that can replace Carbon in organic matter is Silicone. So now try to imagine a Silicon based life form.


Wish I could remember that teachers name.

So I think it likely life could survive anywhere, just not a form of life we have seen yet.
edit on 13-6-2012 by coven83 because: (no reason given)


They've actually expanded somewhat beyond silicon:

en.wikipedia.org...

aresenic, boron ....several others. It's ok, it's been a while since we were way back in our school days


None of which have the unique properties of carbon that makes life possible. As much as it would be great to have this kind of diversity, it is highly unlikely, and almost impossible for anything other than the most basic of lifeforms to develop.


Yes, the article mentions that. They were looking at possible hypothetical compounds that may be able to exist and interact in ways we may not have thought of. I think arsenic was the one that had the best possibility, but it had some issues as well in what we know about biological processes.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 12:57 AM
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I read while looking things up about Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sulfer being the absolute necessities for life as we presently know it. They used the abbreviation CHONPS and another used just CHON, leaving out the Phosphorus and Sulfer.... an interesting read.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 02:29 AM
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reply to post by PurpleChiten
 


In many ways the unique properties of water are also needed for life. What happens when water freezes, does it float or sink. Obvious answer. What about methane? Does frozen methane float on liquid methane? I will give you a hint, water is one of a very few substances that is less dense as a solid. What would happen to life if as water froze it sank?



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 02:44 AM
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reply to post by coven83
 


Life does not have to be limited to carbon or silicon, even more radical elements...also...Angels are made of light
Food for thought.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 02:57 AM
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An element similar to carbon may exist which we aren't aware of. Science progresses when a new discovery is made. I'd image the human race still has a ways to go when you consider the immense scale of the universe.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 03:51 AM
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Originally posted by kushness
An element similar to carbon may exist which we aren't aware of. Science progresses when a new discovery is made. I'd image the human race still has a ways to go when you consider the immense scale of the universe.


We can theorize elements without having even seen them. What you suggest is highly unlikely.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 03:52 AM
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Originally posted by THE_PROFESSIONAL
reply to post by coven83
 


Life does not have to be limited to carbon or silicon, even more radical elements...also...Angels are made of light
Food for thought.


If angels are made of light how did they have children with women?



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 05:03 AM
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Originally posted by PurpleChiten

Originally posted by coven83
One of the first things I learned in science class was that we are a Carbon based life form. The only element in nature that can replace Carbon in organic matter is Silicone. So now try to imagine a Silicon based life form.


Wish I could remember that teachers name.

So I think it likely life could survive anywhere, just not a form of life we have seen yet.
edit on 13-6-2012 by coven83 because: (no reason given)


They've actually expanded somewhat beyond silicon:

en.wikipedia.org...

aresenic, boron ....several others. It's ok, it's been a while since we were way back in our school days

Potentially possible but unnecessary and also unlikely. None of those elements are nearly as common in the Universe as carbon, which along with the other building blocks of life are all among the most abundant (subtract helium, which is inert).


An element similar to carbon may exist which we aren't aware of. Science progresses when a new discovery is made. I'd image the human race still has a ways to go when you consider the immense scale of the universe.

Not really. We've filled out the periodic table of elements and know everything there is to find that can be naturally occurring in the Universe. All other elements we are "discovering" have to be artificially made in a lab and are so heavy, rare and different they aren't going to be a part of any life generating chemistry. Most of these elements also decay very quickly so their existence is very ephemeral. They is theorized that there could be an "island of stability" with some even high mass elements yet to be synthesized, but still these would not be naturally occurring in nature, so won't be a part of any life we might find elsewhere.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 07:26 AM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
reply to post by PurpleChiten
 


In many ways the unique properties of water are also needed for life. What happens when water freezes, does it float or sink. Obvious answer. What about methane? Does frozen methane float on liquid methane? I will give you a hint, water is one of a very few substances that is less dense as a solid. What would happen to life if as water froze it sank?


It's a polar molecule.... that is what makes life "as we know it" possible, but we're looking at possible life "as we don't know it". The possibilities, the processes of respiration, ingestion, movement not based on the chemical composition but on the actions.
I'm not saying any of it is possible, but that's what the theoretical possibilites are exploring. They are trying to explore the possibility of life existing in ways that are not familiar to us in other envrionments. They are asking questions such as; would another basis of life be able to exist in our environment, would we be able to exist in that environment.
They aren't looking at carbon-based biological life as it exists on this planet, they are looking at other possibilities in a theoretical sense.... as explained in the link I posted. They have yet to find a feasible possibility but have not proven that no other possibility exists.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 07:29 AM
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Originally posted by kushness
An element similar to carbon may exist which we aren't aware of. Science progresses when a new discovery is made. I'd image the human race still has a ways to go when you consider the immense scale of the universe.

No, we have a good grasp on elements that exist based on the atomic arrangement. The possibilities would be at the upper end of the periodic table but would also be very unstable and not conducive to life. It would have to be another combination of various elements that we have not considered yet, processing them in ways we have not considered yet.
Arsenic seems to be the most promising exploration at the moment, but its chances are slim.



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 07:33 AM
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Originally posted by LifeInDeath

Originally posted by PurpleChiten

Originally posted by coven83
One of the first things I learned in science class was that we are a Carbon based life form. The only element in nature that can replace Carbon in organic matter is Silicone. So now try to imagine a Silicon based life form.


Wish I could remember that teachers name.

So I think it likely life could survive anywhere, just not a form of life we have seen yet.
edit on 13-6-2012 by coven83 because: (no reason given)


They've actually expanded somewhat beyond silicon:

en.wikipedia.org...

aresenic, boron ....several others. It's ok, it's been a while since we were way back in our school days

Potentially possible but unnecessary and also unlikely. None of those elements are nearly as common in the Universe as carbon, which along with the other building blocks of life are all among the most abundant (subtract helium, which is inert).

From a different poster:

An element similar to carbon may exist which we aren't aware of. Science progresses when a new discovery is made. I'd image the human race still has a ways to go when you consider the immense scale of the universe.

Not really. We've filled out the periodic table of elements and know everything there is to find that can be naturally occurring in the Universe. All other elements we are "discovering" have to be artificially made in a lab and are so heavy, rare and different they aren't going to be a part of any life generating chemistry. Most of these elements also decay very quickly so their existence is very ephemeral. They is theorized that there could be an "island of stability" with some even high mass elements yet to be synthesized, but still these would not be naturally occurring in nature, so won't be a part of any life we might find elsewhere.


Please check the link, it does explain that and take it into consideration. Also, when quoting two different posters, pleases specify which part is from which poster, the second comment you addressed was not mine but appeared that way due to the way you posted it. Thanks!



posted on Jun, 14 2012 @ 08:29 AM
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Originally posted by fictitious
Thanks for sharing. This is pretty cool. I wish they would post the pictures they studied to come up with the theory.

They say it rains and has methane lakes. So I'm assuming it only rains methane? Very interesting.

According to this article, the lakes were seen simply as some dark patches in visual images, and further detected using spectrographic data. The clouds on Titan are too thick to get a visible light image of the lakes.
Cassini Sees Tropical Lakes on Saturn Moon

Excerpt:

Areas appear dark to the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer when liquid ethane or methane are present. Some regions could be shallow, ankle-deep puddles. Cassini’s radar mapper has seen lakes in the polar region, but hasn’t detected any lakes at low latitudes.

The tropical lakes detected by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer have remained since 2004. Only once has rain been detected falling and evaporating in the equatorial regions, and only during the recent expected rainy season. Scientists therefore deduce the lakes could not be substantively replenished by rain.


By the way, the methane lakes on Titan have been confirmed for several years now. There have been dozens of methane lakes discovered around the polar regions. However, these newly found lakes are interesting because all of the other methane lakes found on Titan have been in the polar regions -- these lakes are in the non-polar regions (the lower "tropical" latitudes).

Even though we can't get a visible light image of the lakes, there have been radar images taken of them. Here is a radar image (not a photo) taken back in 2006 that shows methane lakes near Titan's North Pole. Please note this is a radar image, not a visible light image, so any color you see is false color, and was used only to highlight the lakes from the dry ground:

saturn.jpl.nasa.gov...


Here is another radar image of methane lakes near Titan's North pole (click on the hi-res image and look to the right and near the center of the image for the lakes):

saturn.jpl.nasa.gov...


edit on 6/14/2012 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)




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