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Excerpt from viralglobalnews.com
A group of scientists at Cornell University believe that Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, may be a haven of life. However, it would not be in the form that human beings know. Methane based life forms might live on Titan, the scientists have said, after they created a model of an oxygen free life form which would be able to thrive in the icy, unforgiving conditions that Saturn’s moon offers.They studied the various forms of cell membranes that exist on Earth, which are made up of lipid bi-layer structures. The Cornell scientists said such membranes would not be able to exist in environments where liquid water could not be present, according to Design and Trend.Titan has plenty of lakes filled with methane, so that means it might not be habitable in the way that scientists had formerly described habitability. However, Dr. James Stevenson and his team thinks that contrarily structured membranes could offer the foundation for life to exist on Saturn’s moon. The model they created used organic nitrogen mixtures, so that the new structure could easily function on Titan in the richness of the methane that exists in liquid form there.
TitanDr. Stevenson said it was Isaac Asimov, the celebrated sci-fi writer, who first gave the rudimentary inspiration for the idea in the paper he penned, which was called the Not as We Know It essay. It was written about non-water-based life forms. Because Saturn’s moon is the only known celestial form in the solar system to have naturally occurring fluids on its surface, except for the Earth, the group of scientists believe it to be a possible perfect foundation for life forms to develop.Dr. Paulette Clancy, who has helped lead the group, constructed an “azotosome.” It is comparable in name origin to liposome which comes from the Greek words lipos and soma. An azotosome comes from the French word for nitrogen. Therefore, the word is describing a nitrogen body.Instead of trying to find alien life within the area that surrounds the Sun where water exists in liquid form, the group decided to try and imagine a new kind of cell, grounded on methane instead of water. Clancy and the team were dumbfounded to find that this new projected model presented an alike stability to the cell membranes already here on Earth.Dr. Clancy seemed very anxious to carry on the group’s work and find out how such compounds would truly work in the methane atmosphere. Dr. Jonathan Lunine, who is a top expert in Titan and also one of the co-authors of the study, thinks that it might be possible in the future to in fact test these theories by actually examing organic material from Saturn’s moon. In the years to come, Dr. Lunine stated that probes might be sent to Titan to gather the needed material by floating down on the methane seas of the moon of Saturn.The group discovered a compound they named acrylonitrile azotosome, which appeared to show good stability. It had a strong barricade to decomposition, and a suppleness that was similar to phospholipid membranes that exist on Earth. Acrylonitrile is a poisonous, colorless, liquid organic compound that is used in the production of acrylic fibers and thermoplastics and it is present in Titan’s atmosphere as well.They have written up about their discovery and what they believe to be possible. The scientists’ paper was printed up in the journal Science Advances on Friday.