The Life Non-Aquatic: Alien Life on Distant Moons May Not Require Water

Posted by K R on

The search for life elsewhere in our universe has long been a challenge to scientists. Part of the problem is our reliance, as Earthlings, on what we might expect life to be like in other parts of the universe. Often, our ideas are colored by our expectations, which we draw from observation of “life as we know it” here on our home planet. But could life evolve and manage to thrive in other ways, and under vastly different conditions than Earth life has grown used to, if found elsewhere in space? There are many places throughout our own solar system where it is hoped that life-giving conditions may be found. One of these is Saturn’s moon Titan, which, like Earth, is covered in streams, lakes, and oceans… but of a variety very different from our own. Titan’s liquid bodies, rather than being water, are instead filled with liquid methane and ethane, constituting a truly “alien” environment by all accounts. Given these conditions, how could life come to exist in such an environment, or could it exist there at all? According to new research, scientists are indeed hopeful that Titan may bear new kinds of life, despite its challenging environment. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, titled, “Polymorphism and electronic structure of polyimine and its potential significance for prebiotic chemistry on Titan,” looks at the similarities, and the extreme differences, between conditions on Earth and Titan, and whether life indeed may exist there. Read More: Mysterious Universe

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