Large craters best bet for life on Titan

Large craters best bet for life on Titan
Highlights

Large craters on Saturns largest moon, Titan, are the prime locations to search for the building blocks of life, according to a study Using imagery and data from the Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe, scientists led by Catherine Neish from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, zeroed on the best places to look for biological molecules on the surface of Titan

Washington : Large craters on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, are the prime locations to search for the building blocks of life, according to a study. Using imagery and data from the Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe, scientists led by Catherine Neish from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, zeroed on the best places to look for biological molecules on the surface of Titan.

The surface of Titan has abundant carbon-rich molecules (hydrocarbons) that have been shown to form amino acids, the building blocks of proteins needed for life, when exposed to liquid water in laboratory simulations.

However, Titan is much too cold for liquid water to be present on the surface. Radar measurements from Cassini, which orbited Saturn for 13 years, were able to peer through Titan's optically thick atmosphere, revealing the terrain of this enigmatic world. Although the methane lakes may have seemed like the obvious choice to look for signs of life, researchers instead found craters and cryovolcanoes (regions where liquid water erupts from beneath Titan's icy surface) to be the two most enticing locations.

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