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NASA discovers an alien molecule on Titan never seen before in the atmosphere.



NASA scientists are surprised to find an alien molecule that could be the precursor to life in the atmosphere of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.


NASA scientists made a strange discovery in the atmosphere of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. The molecule called Cyclopropenylidene, is based on carbon and is possibly the precursor to more complex compounds that could form a possible alien life on Titan.

 

Is the Earth the only place in the solar system where there can be life? Definitely not!

 

Of all the places where extraterrestrial life can be found, our neighbor Mars is number one on the list, but he is not the only one. Over the years, scientists have proposed that carbon-based life, as we know it, could exist elsewhere than Mars.

 

Other planets like Venus or the moons in our solar system may harbor some form of life in their peculiar atmospheres.

 

Recently, NASA scientists revealed that they found a molecule in Titan’s atmosphere that is as strange as possible.

 

In fact, cyclopropenylidene, or C 3 H 2, had never been found before in any other atmosphere. Many experts, in fact, may never have heard of this before.

 

A simple molecule with a difficult name is actually a carbon-based molecule that could be a precursor to much more complex compounds that could form or fuel alien life on Titan, NASA revealed.

 

How did NASA discover Cyclopropenylidene?

The researchers discovered this strange alien molecule using ALMA, a radio telescope observatory that allows scientists to explore the solar system and the universe in general.

 

The Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array is the largest radio telescope in the world and allows astronomers to study, among other things, the oldest and most distant galaxies in our Universe.

 


By analyzing Titan’s atmosphere, using a spectrum of light signatures that were collected by the telescope, the scientists noticed the presence of a molecule made of carbon and hydrogen.

 

The discovery of cyclopropenylidene in the universe is no big deal. In fact, it had been found on bags along the Milky Way before. But what puzzled scientists is that it was never found in an atmosphere.

 

And finding it on Titan is unprecedented, which is why the discovery was so surprising.

 

Conor Nixon, who led the search for ALMA, explained the enthusiasm. “When I realized I was looking at cyclopropenylidene, my first thought was, well, this is really unexpected,” said the researcher.

 

The precursor of life

The discovery of this molecule in Titan’s atmosphere is surprising because, according to scientists, cyclopropenylidene can react easily with other molecules, allowing it to form different species.

 

Cyclopropenylidene is abundant in interstellar space, however, in such a cold and extreme environment, chemical reactions would not happen easily, unlike the internal environment of Titan’s atmosphere; the dense atmosphere can facilitate chemical activity.

 

The discovery makes Titan even more interesting and NASA wants to study it more closely. NASA’s next Dragonfly mission will sniff out the atmosphere of the alien moon to help us understand it better and collect data that can help solve the mystery behind potential life on Titan.

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