Titan’s Atmosphere Is a Hydrocarbon Factory

first_imgA press release from Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced the discovery of complex hydrocarbons in Titan’s atmosphere.  Some molecules have up to seven carbon atoms.  The discoveries came from the recent flyby on April 16, the closest yet, at just 638 miles above the surface.  Swooping into the upper layers of the atmosphere, the spacecraft came close enough for the ion and neutral mass spectrometer (INMS) to sample the chemical mix.  Hydrocarbons (H and C) and nitriles (N, H, and C) were detected, but the location was a bit puzzling: “it is surprising to find the plethora of complex hydrocarbon molecules in the upper reaches of the atmosphere,” the article states.  “Titan is very cold, and complex hydrocarbons would be expected to condense and rain down to the surface.”The press release could not resist holding up the primordial soup can again: “Scientists believe that Titan’s atmosphere may be a laboratory for studying the organic chemistry that preceded life and provided the building blocks for life on Earth.”  Read the 04/22 entry again.  Get past the chemicals, and talk about the information.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img

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