Methane-based Life on Titan?

There was an announcement from NASA

What is Consuming Hydrogen and Acetylene on Titan?
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/titan20100603.html

Two new papers based on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan’s surface. According to one theory put forth by astrobiologists, the signatures fulfill two important conditions necessary for a hypothesized “methane-based life.”

After some search, I have found a couple of papers

C.P. McKay, H.D. Smith, Possibilities for methanogenic life in liquid methane on the surface of Titan, Icarus, Volume 178, Issue 1, 1 November 2005, Pages 274-276
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2005.05.018

Francois Raulin, Astrobiology and habitability of Titan, Space Science Reviews, Volume 135, Numbers 1-4, 37-48, 2008
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11214-006-9133-7

where there is an overview of ideas behind it. Well, NASA must fight for money, without funding science is impossible.


Comments

2 responses to “Methane-based Life on Titan?”

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  1. Laurel says:

    This is quite interesting! When I saw that Titan had pools of amino acid, I came to the conclusion it would have a microorganism similar to those on Earth when it was first acquiring life. I did not consider the pools of methane on the surface would be able to “grow” a methane-based life. It is a wonderful possibility. After all, finding the arsenic-based life in California, this really opens up all sorts of possibilities. In my opinion, if life can adapt to our planet, it can adapt anywhere in the universe, it just needs some sort of energy to start the delicate process of evolution.

  2. Thanks for mentioning arsenic-based life. I have missed this. I have found the paper now

    A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2010/12/01/science.1197258.abstract

    It seems that many other scientists did not like the NASA work. Are there some other works from NASA on arsenic-based life since then?