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Life On Titan Web Site

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Information about Titan

How could Titan become more hospitable?

Pictures of Titan

A movie of Titan's atmosphere

Site information and sources

Astrobiology is the search for life on other worlds.  As unbelievable as that might sound, theoretically all you need for life is organic components, (molecules with both carbon and hydrogen) an energy source, and water.  (preferably liquid water)  None of these things are overly rare, so some scientists believe that life could actually be very common throughout the universe.  In fact, there are several worlds inside our own solar system that have several of these three components, and are therefore suspected of harboring living creatures. 

            While life itself may be a common occurrence, multi-celled organisms are probably not.  Most of our current astrobiological expeditions do not actually leave the planet, instead they study extreme environments on Earth that may be similar to those on other worlds.  It was previously believed that no life could life in areas toxic to us, or under the pressure of the oceanís water, or in extremely hot areas, yet on earth we have found an abundance of single celled bacteria in such places.  But while those single celled organisms, called extremophiles, may thrive in their environments, it is very unlikely that multi-celled organisms could evolve there.

            It was also previously believed that the only place life could exist was in a solar systemís habitable zone, an area around the star that is close enough that a planet orbiting at this distance to get a good supply of energy, but is far enough that it will not be scorched by the star.  Also, it is the distance where water can exist in a liquid state.  However, contrary to previous belief, radiation from a star is not the only possible sufficient source of energy.  Some worlds in the outer solar system have their own energy sources, which may be enough to support life.  The habitable zone is the best place to look for life, but it is no longer believed to be the only possibility. 

            Saturnís moon Titan, despite being far out of the habitable zone, is ranked among the most likely worlds in the solar system to support single celled organisms.