Aside from Earth, the general scientific consensus is that the best location to look for extraterrestrial life signs is Mars. However, it doesn’t mean that the red planet is the only place.
Apart from the many extrasolar planets that were designated as “potentially-habitable,” there are numerous candidates currently in the Solar System we live in.
They include the plentiful icy satellites that scientists believe have interior oceans that may host life.
Among them is Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon that has various organic chemistry processes happening between its atmosphere and surface.
For a long time, scientists believed that the study of Titan’s atmosphere might provide crucial information regarding the early stages of the evolution of life on our planet.
Research conducted by tech-giant IBM helped recreate atmospheric conditions on Titan in a laboratory.
The research was described in a paper called “Imaging Titan’s Organic Haze at Atomic Scale,” which was recently posted in the Feb 12th release of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Here is the full paper:
Though the surface of Titan is thought to hold clues that may improve our understanding of how life started in our Solar System, providing an exact look at that surface was a significant problem.
The main reason that happens is Titan’s atmosphere, permeated by a dense photochemical haze that can scatter light.
Leo Gross and Nathalie Carrasco, the study’s co-authors explained:
“Titan’s haze consists of nanoparticles made of a wide variety of large and complex organic molecules containing carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. These molecules form in a cascade of chemical reactions when (ultraviolet and cosmic) radiation hits the mix of methane, nitrogen and other gases in atmospheres like Titan’s.”