Recipe is different but content for life in Saturn’s Moon Titan

An artist’s rendition shows a dragonfly quadcopter landing on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan, opening its rotors and re-landing to survey the landscape and atmosphere. Credit: Steve Gribben / Johns Hopkins APL

Catherine Neish is counting down the days until her space launch. While the Western planetary geologist is not space-suiting for his own intergalactic journey, he is playing an important role in an international mission – to set-blast-set a robotic drone for Saturn’s moon Titan in 2027 for.

For nearly two decades, the global space sector has focused most of its money and research on Mars in search of the building blocks of life. And yet, Saturn’s moons are dynamic worlds like Titan, which may actually be more biologically than the red planet.

In a recent study published by Astronomy and Astrophysics, A member of the Neish-Western Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) – and its partners at the European Space Agency (ESA) used advanced imaging technology to probe Titan. They found that when impact craters formed on Saturn’s largest moon, it ejected relatively fresh ‘water ice’ from Titan’s icy crust.

On Titan, atmospheric processes bury snow under a layer of organic matter like sand. In Titan’s dry equatorial regions, sand piles up; But at higher, humid latitudes surface currents destroy the sand.

It’s hard to estimate what’s under Titan’s murky environment – unless you have a multi-million-dollar Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer like ESA, which is visible light to humans and a bit longer during NASA’s Cassini mission Collects infrared light of wavelength.

“It’s wild. There is no other place in the solar system like Titan. On Titan there is more sand per region than anywhere else,” Neish said.

“Titan has weather. It’s not unlike Earth in that way. It’s just that the materials are all wrong. It contains methane rain and harvests and streams through the surface and organic sand flies all around. It is still very active, like it is here. On Earth, “Neesh said.

These findings may prove beneficial in discovering ancient ecosystems frozen in impact craters and will also prove invaluable when designing data analysis and monitoring techniques for Titan from the upcoming Dragon Dragon mission.

As interest in Titan and other planetary bodies grows, Nehus thinks the global space field is ready to start looking beyond Mars for the existence of life – even as the red planet continues to be a prime destination for NASA, Canadian space Agency and blockbuster filmmaker. Hollywood.

“I think more and more, we are seeing a false similarity between life and Mars. Some of the new things we are learning about Venus and more recently being once an ocean world, He is another game-changer. ” “Finally, people are saying, ‘In our quest for life in the universe, we really need to focus on a lot more places, not Mars.’ And that includes sending the Titanfly mission to NASA by Titan. ”

Evidence for a volcanic crater on Saturn’s moon Titan

more information:
a. Solomonidou et al. Effect on Titan chemical composition of craters, Astronomy and Astrophysics (2020). DOI: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 202037866

Provided by the University of Western Ontario

Quotes: The recipe is different but Saturn’s moon Titan has ingredients for life (2020, October 1) from October 1, 2020 Retrieve

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