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Cassini Finds Hydrocarbons on Titan..(guess we can throw away our Bibles now)
ap ^ | Mon, Apr 25, 2005 | na

Posted on 04/25/2005 7:49:18 PM PDT by Flavius

PASADENA, Calif. - A close flyby of Saturn's big moon Titan by the international Cassini spacecraft revealed an upper atmosphere brimming with complex organic material, a finding that could hold clues to how life arose on Earth, scientists said Monday.

Cassini flew within 638 miles of Titan's frozen surface on April 16 and discovered a hydrocarbon-laced upper atmosphere.

Titan's atmosphere is mainly made up of nitrogen and methane, the simplest type of hydrocarbon. But scientists were surprised to find complex organic material in the latest flyby. Because Titan is extremely cold — about minus 290 degrees — scientists expected the organic material to condense and rain down to the surface.

"We are beginning to appreciate the role of the upper atmosphere in the complex carbon cycle that occurs on Titan," said Hunter Waite, a professor at the University of Michigan.

Scientists believe Titan's atmosphere may be similar to that of the primordial Earth and studying it could provide clues to how life began.

The $3.3 billion Cassini mission, funded by NASA and the European and Italian space agencies, was launched in 1997 and took seven years to reach Saturn. The European Huygens probe carried aboard Cassini was released on Dec. 24 and plunged to the surface of Titan in January.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: biochemistry; biology; casini; cassini; chemistry; science; space; titan
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1 posted on 04/25/2005 7:49:20 PM PDT by Flavius
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To: Flavius
Carl Sagan Discusses Origins of Life What would be considered a star-studded cast in the world of chemistry converged on the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall October 22 to rename the structure after the late pioneering U.C. Berkeley chemist, George C. Pimentel, who taught thousands of students in the hall. Nearly 1,000 turned out at the dedication to hear the Pimentel Lecture, given by renowned astronomer and author Carl Sagan, who interacted with Pimentel while working on the Mariner missions to Mars. Preceding Sagan's lecture, Professor Kenneth Pitzer, Pimentel's research director, spoke about Pimentel as a promising young scientist, while Professor Bradley Moore, Pimentel's graduate student and colleague, discussed his early achievements. "George was really the quintessential teacher-scholar," Moore said. Jan Coonrod, Pimentel's daughter, told the audience about Pimentel's unique personality and love for life. Vice Chancellor Carol Christ then performed the official dedication, saying that Pimentel, "in his life and in his career, epitomizes the ideal that Berkeley strives for." Sagan's lecture, "Organic Chemistry in the Outer Solar System: Clues to the Origin of Life," blended Pimentel's achievements in chemistry with Sagan's own interests. Sagan pointed out the use of Pimentel's infrared spectrometer as a key piece of analytical apparatus on the Mariner mission. Although his initial observations of the Martian atmosphere were in error, Pimentel's approach "has borne fruit repeatedly," Sagan said. Profiling the use of infrared spectrometry in the discovery of organic chemistry in the solar system, Sagan recalled "George's sense that in space there ought to be lots of organic chemistry," adding that this has been confirmed with next-generation infrared spectrometers. "Jovian planets and those beyond are loaded with organic chemistry," he said. Recently, Pimentel's technique was used to confirm the existence of organic material coming off Halley's Comet. Sagan then focused on the chemistry of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. He and his colleagues managed to roughly reproduce the atmospheric conditions on Titan, deriving a substance that resembled the murky material observed on the surface of the planet. "It is fair to claim that we bottled the haze of Titan," Sagan said. The haze, which left a "tarry, brownish solid" residual, had a spectrum that essentially matched measurements of Titan's spectrum. When analyzed, it was found to contain one percent amino acids and detectable amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. "It is clearly loaded with great stuff," Sagan said, referring to the fact that such material suggests the possibility of life. However, Sagan pointed out, Titan is essentially a frozen planet. Taking into account the heat generated by asteroid impacts, Sagan and his colleagues calculated that an average point on Titan has seen liquid water for about 1000 years in the last 4.5 billion years. "Whether 1000 years is enough for the origin of life is very much an unknown question," said Sagan. Nevertheless, Sagan said it is "at least very plausible that there is an organic chemistry accumulating on the surface of Titan that may be relevant to the origin of life." Noting that the European Space Agency's mission to Saturn will carry a spectrometer not much different in principle from Pimentel's, Sagan concluded: "George Pimentel's legacy will be in the Saturn system in the year 2004 and I think we can safely predict that in the entire future of spacecraft exploration of the solar system, George's legacy will live on."
2 posted on 04/25/2005 7:51:28 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: Flavius

A carpenter from several thousand years ago once commented on extra-terrestrials: "I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."


3 posted on 04/25/2005 7:52:13 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: Flavius

Flavius, I think the Bible is silent on the issue of Titan.

But what great data! Everywhere we look things are more complex than we imagined.

What a wonderful Universe God created for us to play in.


4 posted on 04/25/2005 7:52:20 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: Flavius

"Scientists believe Titan's atmosphere may be similar to that of the primordial Earth and studying it could provide clues to how life began."

Similar in that it contains 2 molecules known to exist on earth. Except for the 350 degree difference in temperature, it's ready to spawn humanity spontaneaously any day now. sarc/


5 posted on 04/25/2005 7:53:16 PM PDT by EERinOK
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To: FormerACLUmember; Quix

So...Jesus got into a space ship and went to another planer far, far away?


6 posted on 04/25/2005 7:56:32 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Get after the RAT's all of you cat people - earn your keep!)
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To: Flavius

Does this mean that they had SUV's up there long before us?


7 posted on 04/25/2005 7:56:50 PM PDT by umgud (FR, NASCAR, NRA, GOP)
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To: umgud

I donno, but I bet that methane would be nicely turned into diesel now just to figure a way to get it down here...


8 posted on 04/25/2005 7:58:08 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: Flavius
Colossians 1
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
9 posted on 04/25/2005 7:58:34 PM PDT by HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath (Proverbs 10:30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.)
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To: Flavius

A 4.5 billion year old atmosphere that's still mostly methane and nitrogen? This doesn't bode well for the hope that anything calls Titan home.


10 posted on 04/25/2005 7:58:43 PM PDT by Redcloak (But what do I know? I'm just a right-wing nut in his PJs whackin' on a keyboard..)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
So...Jesus got into a space ship and went to another planer far, far away?

Yup, that's it. You outwitted me. I forgot that God needs a spaceship to travel around the universe.

11 posted on 04/25/2005 8:00:36 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: FormerACLUmember

just one universe?


12 posted on 04/25/2005 8:01:44 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath

New translation: "For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels--everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him."


13 posted on 04/25/2005 8:02:58 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: Redcloak

I guess maybe they had a thought that you know with billions of stars chances are there are other rocks like ours...


14 posted on 04/25/2005 8:03:49 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: KevinDavis; PatrickHenry

Titan ping!!


15 posted on 04/25/2005 8:03:52 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Flavius
just one universe?

Infinite universes.

16 posted on 04/25/2005 8:04:00 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: FormerACLUmember

Sounds like a good hedge fund


17 posted on 04/25/2005 8:04:23 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: FormerACLUmember

i donno about infinite seems like a lot


18 posted on 04/25/2005 8:04:51 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: Flavius
Hydrocarbons containing as many as seven carbon atoms were observed, as well as nitrogen- containing hydrocarbons (nitriles).

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is really complex.

19 posted on 04/25/2005 8:05:10 PM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: FormerACLUmember

AMEN


20 posted on 04/25/2005 8:05:56 PM PDT by AZHua87
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To: Flavius
Sounds like a good hedge fund.

The best. Better long term yield than you'll get from George Soros.

21 posted on 04/25/2005 8:09:01 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: Flavius
I donno about infinite seems like a lot

I suspect it IS a lot.

22 posted on 04/25/2005 8:09:45 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: DBrow

"What a wonderful Universe God created for us to play in."

Great comment!

If heaven can partly be what we want it to be, I would like part of it to be the opportunity to explore the entire created universe inch by inch, never having to worry about packing a lunch, always able to return (at a moment's notice to the presence of God), given free reign to live out my curiousity.

Unrealistic, maybe. But, that's what I would want.


23 posted on 04/25/2005 8:10:36 PM PDT by ColoCdn (Neco eos omnes, Deus suos agnoset)
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To: EERinOK
Similar in that it contains 2 molecules known to exist on earth.

Read again. The point was that complex organics have also been found in the upper atmosphere.

24 posted on 04/25/2005 8:10:40 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: FormerACLUmember
A carpenter from several thousand years ago once commented on extra-terrestrials: "I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."

Personally, I believe He was speaking of Gentiles.

25 posted on 04/25/2005 8:11:51 PM PDT by skr (May God bless those in harm's way and confound those who would do the harming)
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To: FormerACLUmember

well old George will not give me anything i belive he actually had something to do with the high oil prices


26 posted on 04/25/2005 8:14:19 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: Redcloak
A 4.5 billion year old atmosphere that's still mostly methane and nitrogen? This doesn't bode well for the hope that anything calls Titan home.

Why not? Is there an actual substance to your opinion or is it more like one of those pulled-it-out-my-*** kind of things?

PS. Since methane dissipates without constant replenishment and since the only thing we know of to create such atmospheric mixtures (acetylene, ethane, methane, and carbon dioxide) is biology, what we know bodes quite well for something to call Titan home.

27 posted on 04/25/2005 8:15:02 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: skr

Thats the beauty of it everyone is right and all the angles are covered...

obscure to no end...


28 posted on 04/25/2005 8:17:01 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: FormerACLUmember

I wasn't look to outwit you. Just interested in your interesting theology.


29 posted on 04/25/2005 8:24:20 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Get after the RAT's all of you cat people - earn your keep!)
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To: Redcloak

PPS. There are two bodies in the solar system with atmospheric properties that at this point in time we only know how to explain via biology, and surprising enough neither of them is Mars. They are Venus and Titan.


30 posted on 04/25/2005 8:26:29 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv

Not counting Earth, of course!


31 posted on 04/25/2005 8:26:58 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Flavius

Did you post this for its informative content, or just to announce the bible as obsolete?


32 posted on 04/25/2005 8:28:29 PM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
So...Jesus got into a space ship and went to another planet far, far away?

Titan is just the Mormon II planet. ;^)

33 posted on 04/25/2005 8:29:45 PM PDT by Constitution Day ("Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do ... 'cause they're FAST.")
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To: Flavius

Great story, but Saturn gives off so much radiation that Titan will never have life. Earth is in the sweet spot of the solar system because God ordained it to be so.


34 posted on 04/25/2005 8:30:30 PM PDT by conservativecorner
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To: Constitution Day

Why not? Every kook belief needs a place to call home.

I have an uncle that believes God is going to make him some kind of grand poobah over inhabited planets during the millenium. I toss him in the same bin as any other mental defective.


35 posted on 04/25/2005 8:37:26 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Get after the RAT's all of you cat people - earn your keep!)
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To: conservativecorner

It's always interesting how the pulled-out-my-*** phenomenon takes off whenever science might conflict with someone's theology. In any case, the Titanian atmosphere would absorb most of the radiation thereby protecting organics on the surface from harm.

The huge impediment to life emerging and advancing on Titan is the intense cold that would slow down chemical reactions. The 'no life on Titan' crowd really should be hitching their wagon to that.


36 posted on 04/25/2005 8:37:54 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: ColoCdn

Our traveller had a marvellous grasp of the laws of gravity and all of the forces of attraction and repulsion. He put them to such good use that he and his retinue managed, sometimes with the help of a sunbeam, sometimes by means of a convenient comet, to proceed from globe to globe like a bird flitting from branch to branch.

Micromegas, by Voltaire


37 posted on 04/25/2005 8:40:45 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: AntiGuv

I remember reading in a geology publication not long ago an article in which a scientist was discussing the production of abiotic methane, and that it may very well occur in large amounts deep within Earth's crust and stored in hydrates at the bottom of the ocean. The existence and production of abiotic methane is proven, the only controversy is the amounts.

Life on Titan would have had to evolve in temperatures near -300 F, while life on Earth is thought to have evolved in temperatures near 1000 C, in an environment not unlike the Mid-Atlantic ridge of today. If we found life on Titan, chacnes are we wouldn't recognize it.


38 posted on 04/25/2005 8:41:25 PM PDT by Ain Soph Aur
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To: WorkingClassFilth

Thanks.

I don't think Jesus needs UFO's at all.

On the other hand, if He wants to use them--HE'S THE BOSS.


39 posted on 04/25/2005 8:42:11 PM PDT by Quix (HAVING A FORM of GODLINESS but DENYING ITS POWER. 2 TIM 3:5)
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To: Flavius

PARAGRAPHS ARE OUR FRIENDS.

PARAGRAPHS ARE OUR FRIENDS.

PARAGRAPHS ARE OUR FRIENDS.

Besides that, There's nothing in the Bible to preclude civilizations on other planets regardless of what some narrow, rigid Christians assert.


40 posted on 04/25/2005 8:44:14 PM PDT by Quix (HAVING A FORM of GODLINESS but DENYING ITS POWER. 2 TIM 3:5)
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To: Flavius
Science might very well answer the question of how life was formed, but it will never answer the more important question of why.
41 posted on 04/25/2005 8:46:54 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: Last Dakotan

because it could


42 posted on 04/25/2005 8:48:38 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: Ain Soph Aur
It's not the methane itself that cannot be explained without biology, but rather the presence of methane and carbon dioxide together. That doesn't mean it won't be explained by abiotic means, just that we don't know how to explain it yet. When all's said and done, I would not be surprised if Titan is dead as dead can be, but my point is that we have no basis yet to proclaim Titan yet.
43 posted on 04/25/2005 8:49:29 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Quix
There's nothing in the Bible to preclude civilizations on other planets regardless of what some narrow, rigid Christians assert.

So did Jesus do more than one crucification & resurrection?

44 posted on 04/25/2005 8:49:36 PM PDT by jla
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To: Ain Soph Aur

No basis to proclaim Titan dead, that is..


45 posted on 04/25/2005 8:50:03 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Quix

Seems to me that 'multiple worlds' theory would hold that Christ did not die once for all unless some advanced civilizations are perfect in sinless states.

I don't believe in pan-galactic life in the first place, so multiple races of uber Adam & Eves is wa-a-a-ay over the top to me. However, this is America and people are free to take comfort in whatever turns their crank - or engages their hyperdrive.


46 posted on 04/25/2005 8:50:07 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Get after the RAT's all of you cat people - earn your keep!)
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To: Flavius

If Carl Sagan was required to make it as a research scientist he would have ended up with a bottle of rum in some skid row.
As for life emerging from organic molecular structures, we have yet to see anyone lay out anyting that even closely resembles a "honest" portrayed scenario. And least we forget, the earth very unique placement within the sun's orbit, the tilt of the earth, it's rotation, all contribute to a very very find line between the possibilities of life existing, verse no probablility of any living organisms existing let along thriving. Quite frankly I do not like tax dollars going toward such idiotic ventures as seeking life where it cannot exists. It just seems to me that to many supposed scientist are still living in the 50's when guys like Stanley Miller managed to create some very basic organic molecular structures with very tightly controlled conditions, cold traps and the like to gather what simply turned into goo afterwards. Living systems are extremely complex. The biochemistry of life is so wonderouse it should make us all lay on our faces in humbleness. To think any scientist would actually think a carbon based life form could form and thrive on Titans moon is to me utterly ridiculous. And I am not trying to be rude to anyone that believes otherwise. Could an Silicon based CPU just come into existence from raw materials? Think hard about it.
All the knowledge, and different fields of science that go into creating a integrated circuit. I know I designed them, and understand the processing involved. I tell you even the most simple form of living organism, is far more complex then anything mankind has ever attempted to build. Just to think it all just evolved is just nonesense. The simplest cell requires to many mechanisms to be fully functional in order for it to exist, and if the any particular function say some protein synthesis loop is interupted because something prevents a particular enzyme from doing it's thing the cell will die. So how on earth could the cell ever come to be if the enzymes, exact correct rna/dna and other protein molecules, and the large number of intellegent chemical reactions that must all be in place and working correctly where not already in place and functioning properly?


47 posted on 04/25/2005 8:50:15 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle
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To: skr

Dear skr,

"Personally, I believe He was speaking of Gentiles."

You think aliens keep kosher?


sitetest


48 posted on 04/25/2005 8:51:24 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: AntiGuv

[Since methane dissipates without constant replenishment and since the only thing we know of to create such atmospheric mixtures (acetylene, ethane, methane, and carbon dioxide) is biology, what we know bodes quite well for something to call Titan home.]


Methane is only unstable on Earth in the presence of oxygen.

It is very likely that the early Earth had methane in it's atmosphere until the evolution of photosynthesizing plants created the significant amounts of oxygen.

Methane is very abundant in the atmospheres of all the outer giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune).


49 posted on 04/25/2005 8:52:09 PM PDT by spinestein (Mostly harmless.)
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To: Flavius
a finding that could hold clues to how life arose on Earth, scientists said Monday.

They must have spotted a Bible on Titan and I can guarantee it holds clues to how life on earth arose.

50 posted on 04/25/2005 8:52:17 PM PDT by taxesareforever
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