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Thread: Cyclopropenylidene on Titan

  1. #1
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    Cyclopropenylidene on Titan

    NASA.gov

    NASA scientists identified a molecule in Titanís atmosphere that has never been detected in any other atmosphere. In fact, many chemists have probably barely heard of it or know how to pronounce it: cyclopropenylidene, or C3H2. Scientists say that this simple carbon-based molecule may be a precursor to more complex compounds that could form or feed possible life on Titan.

    Researchers found C3H2 by using a radio telescope observatory in northern Chile known as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). They noticed C3H2, which is made of carbon and hydrogen, while sifting through a spectrum of unique light signatures collected by the telescope; these revealed the chemical makeup of Titanís atmosphere by the energy its molecules emitted or absorbed.
    Cyclopropenylidene has been found in molecular clouds, but it is weird finding such a reactive molecule in a dense atmosphere.
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  2. #2
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    The NASA webpage you linked to has a pretty cool video describing the upcoming Titan lander, Dragonfly. It won't be looking for C3H2 but as pointed out on the page, every piece of information helps piece together the puzzle.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    NASA (and others) seem to be saying this is a POSSIBLE indicator of life, since something has to be generating an unstable molecule. Personally, I think that might be a reach. If there is life on Titan, it would have to vastly different than water-based lifeforms we are familiar with. Without additional evidence, that is too much of stretch for me. At this point I suspect it is some rather unusual chemistry, rather than a lifeform. But it is all speculation.
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