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November 14 2012

Saturn's Titan -- "Mirrors the Conditions that Led to Origin of Life on Earth"


The atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan is often viewed as an analog to what the Earth's atmosphere may have been like billions of years ago. Despite the 800 million miles between the two worlds, both may have had their atmospheres created through the gravitational layering and processing of asteroids and comets.

"We see Titan as a natural oasis of remarkable astrobiological significance to understand the environment in which origin of life took place on Earth," said Josep M. Trigo-Rodriguez, of the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC) in Barcelona, Spain.. "It seems that a plausible scenario to build life consists of a dense atmosphere, where small particles like organic haze and meteoric metals could act as catalysts for the formation of more complex organic compounds from simple precursors such as carbon monoxide and methane, thus promoting increasing complexity."

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