For as long as we can remember people have questioned the validity of life beyond Earth. They hold onto the notion that our planet came to be in a Goldilocks Zone where all the perfect conditions were met to produce life.
The Goldilocks Zone is a term that’s been around for a while and is the topic of frequent debate amongst the scientific community. It’s used to describe the distance a planet must be from its given star that is neither too hot or too cold and therefore allows liquid water to develop. For sometime it’s been thought that Earth may be the only planet, atleast within our galaxy. However, new studies show that there may be hope on one of Saturn’s moons.
Saturn’s largest moon Titan has a radius less than half the size of Earth, 1601 contrasted with Earth’s 3959 miles and is only slightly larger than our own moon. Titan’s atmosphere is very dense, and above all it is the only known orbiting body besides Earth to hold stable bodies of surface liquid.
This information amongst other factors is what led researchers to send a the Huygens Atmospheric Entry Probe to explore Titan back on December 25th, 2004. After a successful landing on Titan in 2005 a team of scientists from Cornell began using the data obtained from the probe regarding Titan’s atmospheric conditions.
With the data the team attempted to simulate Titan’s atmosphere and prove that the conditions necessary to produce life could take place on the moon.
Titan has both erosion and rainfall, the only difference is that the liquid involved in these processes isn’t water but rather Ethane and Methane based rain. There is water on Titan, but it’s frozen deep beneath the moon’s surface.
Polymine polymers were also discovered on Titan, crucial in the formation of life. The question of life’s origin has been bounced back and forth between scientists for decades, but polymine polymers allow for prebiotic reactions which in turn can create life.
The researchers hope to send another probe to Saturn’s moon in the near future, one that could test for other forms of life or the raw materials that have the potential of leading to it.