BOFFINS: Oxygen-free, methane-based ALIENS may EXIST on icy SATURN moon • The Register


Scientists believe they have come up with a solid model for a new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that could thrive in the harsh, icy conditions of Saturn’s mysterious freezing moon, Titan.

The researchers at Cornell University reckon they have come up with “the first concrete blueprint of life not as we know it.”

Grad James Stevenson, astronomer Jonathan Lunine and chemical engineer Paulette Clancy, with a Cassini image of Titan in the foreground of Saturn, and an azotosome, the theorised cell membrane on Titan. Credit: Cornell University

Chemical engineering graduate, James Stevenson, said he had been partly inspired by sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov, who wrote the essay Not as We Know It about the concept of non-water based life in 1962.

Stevenson worked with chemical molecular dynamics boffin, Paulette Clancy, and Cornell’s director for radiophysics and space research, Jonathan Lunine, on the project.

As The Register previously reported, Saturn’s giant moon Titan is the only other planetary body in the Solar System that has naturally occurring surface liquids – it contains vast seas of methane.

The university’s researchers theorised that such a celestial body “could harbour methane-based, oxygen-free cells.”

The boffins came up with a cell membrane that they said was composed of small organic compounds and capable of functioning in liquid methane temperatures of 292 degrees below zero.

CONTINUE READING via BOFFINS: Oxygen-free, methane-based ALIENS may EXIST on icy SATURN moon • The Register.

 

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