Weird Molecule Discovered
Ever heard of a molecule named cyclopropenylidene in your high school chemistry quizzes which is a combination of carbon and hydrogen, maybe the chances are negligible for all of you. But since it was discovered in the atmosphere of Saturn’s fascinating moon Titan, astronomers have been left scuttle.
A statement by NASA on Tuesday said that the simple carbon-based molecule as per the scientists may be an antecedent to more complex compounds that could lead to making life possible on Titan.
Dragonfly for Titan
NASA’s upcoming Dragonfly mission has Titan, which is an icy moon with methane lakes, on its target which will look for the manifestation of past or present life.
The study of Titan was published in the Astronomical Journal this month by the research team led by NASA scientists owing thanks for the discovery of the observation from the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) in Chile.
Conor Nixon, NASA’s planetary scientist expressed the findings as really unexpected. Although cyclopropenylidene has been spotted in gas and dust clouds in space, but it is the first time it has been found in an atmosphere.
Life on Titan?
Titan is believed to be a parallel to ancient Earth as scientists believe a subsurface ocean of water on it. NASA Goddard astrobiologist Melissa Trainer said that the Titan is considered a real-life laboratory because we can see homogeneous chemistry to that of ancient Earth when life was just shaping out.
Life on Titan cannot be proved with the discovery of cyclopropenylidene but it adds a new layer of fascination to the many mysteries surrounding the jumbo-size, intriguing moon.
Wait for 2027
The Titan will be explored by Dragonfly, which is essentially a large drone, will be configured to touch down at multiple locations across Titan. NASA is planning the launch for 2027 for the mission, so we need to wait for a while for actual answers.