Latest Hydrocarbon Stories
During its closest flyby of Titan on April 16, NASA's Cassini spacecraft detected some surprisingly complex organic molecules floating in its upper atmosphere. Specifically, the spacecraft's mass spectrometer picked up the presence of a variety of hydrocarbons, including ethane and even octane.
During its closest flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on April 16, the Cassini spacecraft came within 1,027 kilometers (638 miles) of the moon's surface and found that the outer layer of the thick, hazy atmosphere is brimming with complex hydrocarbons.
Arizona's Jonathan Lunine presented a lecture entitled "Titan: A Personal View after Cassini's first six months in Saturn orbit" at a NASA Director's Seminar on January 24, 2005. Lunine discusses the question of missing methane in an edited transcript of Part 2.
University of Hawaii astronomer Toby Owens spoke with Astrobiology Magazine shortly after the successful Huygens mission had completed. In this part of the interview, Owens talks about the significance of methane in Titan's atmosphere.
University of Hawaii astronomer Toby Owens spoke with Astrobiology Magazine shortly after the successful Huygens mission had completed. In this part of the interview, Owens talks about the possibility that there is life on Titan.
The limits to life have consistently listed carbon-based organisms as central. While methane-consuming microbes are still carbon-based, they do offer novel ways to extract energy even without light or oxygen. Their role in our solar system is a subject of fruitful speculation.
- A young chicken: also used as a pet name for children.