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Cassini Finds Organic Material on Titan
Associated Press ^ | Tue Apr 26, 9:43 AM ET | None Given

Posted on 04/27/2005 2:15:04 AM PDT by Triggerhippie

Cassini Finds Organic Material on Titan

Tue Apr 26, 9:43 AM ET

Add to My Yahoo! Science - AP

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.

Photo AP Photo

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.

___

On the Net:

Titan flyby images: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cassini; flybyuranus; huygens; itsfullofstars; organic; saturn; titan

1 posted on 04/27/2005 2:15:05 AM PDT by Triggerhippie
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To: Triggerhippie

Didn't Sagan say that that's what was there?


2 posted on 04/27/2005 2:32:31 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
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To: Triggerhippie

At last! The source of the mysterious finger in the Wendy's chili!


3 posted on 04/27/2005 2:42:36 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: Triggerhippie
A close flyby of Saturn's big moon Titan by the international Cassini spacecraft revealed an upper atmosphere brimming with complex organic material,

That is so vague and unsubstantiated a statement, I am surprised it was released. Define the "complex organic material." A carbon based....what?

Further, it seems the "discovery" was sent to the AP via some professor at the University of Michigan, not NASA.

I predict this will turn out the same as that rock they discovering in Antartica, that had "worm trail fossils in it, but the rock really was a meteor from Mars--so there is life on Mars! GET IT!"

4 posted on 04/27/2005 2:58:03 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: Triggerhippie
ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT......
5 posted on 04/27/2005 2:59:34 AM PDT by RaceBannon ((Prov 28:1 KJV) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.)
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To: SkyPilot
That is so vague and unsubstantiated a statement, I am surprised it was released. Define the "complex organic material." A carbon based....what?

Not vague, just inconclusive. They don't have enough evidence to blame it on the dog; just that someone out there had too many beans.

6 posted on 04/27/2005 3:03:48 AM PDT by leadhead (Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups)
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To: RaceBannon

Europa.


7 posted on 04/27/2005 3:07:04 AM PDT by Reform4Bush
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To: Triggerhippie

Something tells me we just found D.B. Cooper!


8 posted on 04/27/2005 3:27:31 AM PDT by The Duke
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To: Triggerhippie

Jimmy Hoffa?


9 posted on 04/27/2005 3:30:00 AM PDT by RobFromGa (Enact Constitutional Option Now!)
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To: SkyPilot
I suppose you didn't consider the distinct possibility that an AP news story is not the same thing as a NASA release.

Organic Materials Spotted High Above Titan's Surface
April 25, 2005
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

see link for extended release

***************************************

Titan's Upper Atmosphere: A "factory" of hydrocarbons
April 25, 2005

During its closest flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on April 16, the Cassini spacecraft came within 1,025 kilometers (637 miles) of the moon's surface and found that the outer layer of the thick, hazy atmosphere is brimming with complex hydrocarbons.

This figure shows a mass spectrum of Titan's ionosphere near 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) above its surface. The mass range covered goes from hydrogen at 1 atomic mass unit per elementary charge (Dalton) to 99 Daltons. This mass range includes compounds with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 carbons as the base structure (as indicated in the figure label). The identified compounds include multiple carbon molecules and carbon-nitrogen bearing species as well. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The ion and neutral mass spectrometer team is based at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. (underscore added)

10 posted on 04/27/2005 3:33:23 AM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: samtheman

What a great laugh to start the day!


11 posted on 04/27/2005 3:40:24 AM PDT by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/Laocoon.htm)
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To: samtheman

I think that maybe the flag that Sheila Jackson Lee said was put on Mars was blown off and landed here.


12 posted on 04/27/2005 3:40:26 AM PDT by daddyOwe ("a man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone")
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To: AntiGuv
Carbon Series
CH4 - Methane
C2H6 - Ethane
C3H8 - Propane
C4H10 - Butane
C5H12 - Pentane
C6H14 - Hexane
C7H16 - Heptane
13 posted on 04/27/2005 3:45:38 AM PDT by BigEdLB (BigEd)
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To: SkyPilot
That is so vague and unsubstantiated a statement, I am surprised it was released. Define the "complex organic material." A carbon based....what?

Organic compounds are not necessarily biological compounds, though most biological molecules are organic. Organic just means a molecule containing hydrogen and carbon.

14 posted on 04/27/2005 4:13:39 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Dog; Two Thirds Vote Aye

Cassini Ping


15 posted on 04/27/2005 4:20:55 AM PDT by Molly Pitcher (We are Americans...the sons and daughters of liberty...*.from FReeper the Real fifi*)
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To: BigEdLB
Oil? It's time to drill Titan!

Send Haliburton.

16 posted on 04/27/2005 4:21:52 AM PDT by demlosers (Rumsfeld: "We don't have an exit strategy, we have a victory strategy.'')
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To: AntiGuv

I'll bet you could find hydrocarbons on the Moon if you drilled deep enough.


17 posted on 04/27/2005 4:35:37 AM PDT by steveegg (Bring back Hoosier, Firestone; SOMEBODY to get Badyear off their duffs and make a good tire.)
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To: Triggerhippie

"My God ... it's full of stars."


18 posted on 04/27/2005 5:12:31 AM PDT by The G Man (The Red States ... the world's only hope for survival.)
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To: RandallFlagg
Didn't Sagan say that that's what was there?

Vonnegut said there is much, much more. :o)


19 posted on 04/27/2005 5:19:25 AM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: demlosers

Well, I suspect switching to ethanol, biodiesel, or even solar-cell and electolysis generated hydrogen will be cheaper than crude from Titan, but your joke has a point: this gives a big boost to the non-biological origin of petroleum theory.


20 posted on 04/27/2005 5:20:10 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will understand. . .)
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To: Triggerhippie
a finding that could hold clues to how life arose on

So they think they will find God on that moon?

21 posted on 04/27/2005 5:22:45 AM PDT by TheBattman (Islam (and liberals) and gasoline producers and sellers- the cult of Satan)
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To: Triggerhippie

What kind of matter isn't organic.


22 posted on 04/27/2005 5:25:10 AM PDT by biblewonk (John 2:4 "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?...)
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To: Triggerhippie

"organic" material could really nothing but simple proteins.


23 posted on 04/27/2005 5:35:13 AM PDT by Lunatic Fringe (North Texas Solutions http://ntxsolutions.com)
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To: Reform4Bush

Attempt no landings there...


24 posted on 04/27/2005 5:38:39 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob (The Crew Chief's Toolbox: A roll around cabinet full of specialists.)
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To: samtheman

I was thinking that maybe now we know where all those socks disappear to...


25 posted on 04/27/2005 5:43:37 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob (The Crew Chief's Toolbox: A roll around cabinet full of specialists.)
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To: Triggerhippie
All this wow-eyed wonderment about the origin of life on earth is amusing. Why don't they just read the book?
26 posted on 04/27/2005 5:47:23 AM PDT by whereasandsoforth (Stamp out liberals with the big boot of truth)
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To: Tennessee_Bob
I was thinking that maybe now we know where all those socks disappear to...

LOL - Dirty socks probably emit all kinds of organic gases.

27 posted on 04/27/2005 5:49:35 AM PDT by wysiwyg (What parts of "right of the people" and "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?)
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To: BigEdLB
Obviously the previous inhabitants polluted themselves out of existence. /sarc
28 posted on 04/27/2005 5:50:47 AM PDT by In veno, veritas
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To: RaceBannon
I as just going to post that!!!!

All these worlds are yours except_______(Europa)
Do not attempt any landings there.
Use them together
Use them in peace.

29 posted on 04/27/2005 5:50:56 AM PDT by rintense
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To: Triggerhippie

This just in from Kalifornia, Organic material found on Uranus.


30 posted on 04/27/2005 6:24:40 AM PDT by Moleman
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To: Molly Pitcher

Thanks Molly! This spacecraft just amazes me!


31 posted on 04/27/2005 7:13:42 AM PDT by Two Thirds Vote Aye (9/11/2001 - current clXXXon legacy. N. Korea NUKES - legacy. #2 - RED CHINA NUKES legacy #3 :(()
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To: AntiGuv

Thanks for the NASA release info. But a "discovery" of hydrocarbons in an atmosphere is hardly a cause for excitement. It is another example of "over reach" for even making this a news release at all, since a casual reader would assume it offers proof of life discovered elsewhere in the cosmos. It does not.


32 posted on 04/27/2005 9:25:56 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: AntiGuv
The identified compounds include multiple carbon molecules and carbon-nitrogen bearing species as well.

Amino acids???

33 posted on 04/27/2005 9:30:11 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Triggerhippie

Saturn's moon Titan taken by the Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 11, 2004.


34 posted on 04/27/2005 9:35:05 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (If this isn't the End Times it certainly is a reasonable facsimile...)
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To: Triggerhippie

Cassini Finds Organic Material on Titan


35 posted on 04/27/2005 9:39:50 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (If this isn't the End Times it certainly is a reasonable facsimile...)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

Maybe two or three, glycine and alanine and possibly serine(from what the mass data indicates). What is strange though is that the gross attributes of Titan's atmosphere are described as methane and nitrogen. Yet the data shows single carbon species density as 1/100th of that of double carbon species.



Amino acid scale values:

Ala: 89.000
Arg: 174.000
Asn: 132.000
Asp: 133.000
Cys: 121.000
Gln: 146.000
Glu: 147.000
Gly: 75.000
His: 155.000
Ile: 131.000
Leu: 131.000
Lys: 146.000
Met: 149.000
Phe: 165.000
Pro: 115.000
Ser: 105.000
Thr: 119.000
Trp: 204.000
Tyr: 181.000
Val: 117.000


36 posted on 04/27/2005 9:58:06 AM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: AndrewC

Interesting. And quick work too!


37 posted on 04/27/2005 10:17:20 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

I also can't figure out what non-ionized gases would have masses from 12-15D


38 posted on 04/27/2005 10:18:31 AM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

I'm lazy. I used the internet for the calculations.


39 posted on 04/27/2005 10:19:40 AM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: SkyPilot

I dunno if I'm just in a cranky mood lately but I swear there must be some kind of brain-wasting epidemic going around these past few days.


40 posted on 04/27/2005 10:21:58 AM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Triggerhippie

I, for one, welcome our new hydrocarbonite overlords.


41 posted on 04/27/2005 10:25:31 AM PDT by Romish_Papist (The times are out of step with the Catholic Church. God Bless Pope Benedict XVI!!!!)
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To: AndrewC

I took a quick look around and didn't find anything helpful.


42 posted on 04/27/2005 12:34:44 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Triggerhippie

Doubtless there's a branch of the Kennedy clan there ingesting complex carbohydrates, and emitting methane.


43 posted on 04/27/2005 1:12:04 PM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: rintense

I just got the DVD!

Otherwise, I would have forgotten the rest of the line! :)


44 posted on 04/27/2005 1:15:18 PM PDT by RaceBannon ((Prov 28:1 KJV) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.)
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To: Triggerhippie
Hmmmm...


45 posted on 04/27/2005 1:18:13 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (The way that you wander is the way that you choose. The day that you tarry is the day that you lose.)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

I was not fully engaged when I noted the possibilities of the amino acids. They most certainly would only be found in trace amounts. They have high melting points. DUH. I was just concentrating on the molecular weight. And the mass spectrometer was measuring the ionosphere. This would also seem to preclude highly polar organics. Benzene might be a possible species.


46 posted on 04/27/2005 1:39:37 PM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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