Signs of life on other planets: what do fogs on Titan and landslides on Mars say

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists simulate the atmosphere of Titan and obtain molecules found in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon.

People are looking for life outside the Earth. And they seem to find

Mars isn’t the only one claiming “life”. One of the celestial bodies on which life is possible, of course, only in the form of microorganisms, is Saturn’s moon Titan.

It is smaller than Mars, but it is on Titan that there are large expanses of surface liquid. There are seas and rivers. This is not water, but methane and ethane.

Through research conducted by IBM in March 2021, a team of scientists managed to recreate the atmospheric conditions of Titan in the laboratory.

The atmosphere on Titan is similar to Earth’s atmosphere, but not as it is today, but as it was about 2.8 billion years ago, even before cyanobacteria radically changed it, throwing out huge amounts of oxygen.

Then the sky turned blue. On Titan, under the influence of ultraviolet and cosmic rays, tholins are formed – analogues of organic molecules.

The researchers say: “We poured a mixture of methane and nitrogen into a stainless steel vessel, and then started chemical reactions through an electrical discharge, thereby simulating the conditions in Titan’s atmosphere.

We then analyzed more than 100 of the resulting molecules that make up the tholins of Titan, producing atomic-resolution images.” Understanding how tholins are formed.

Signs of life on other planets what do fogs on Titan and landslides on Mars say 2
Methane lake on Titan. Reconstruction

And on Mars, astrochemists are investigating landslides on the planet’s surface. Dark bands appear on some Martian slopes during the warm season.

They are known as the Recurring Slope Lineae or RSL and were first thought to be salt water flows on Mars. This assumption was corrected after observations showed that the flows behaved like sand, although this did not explain their seasonal nature.

Now a new hypothesis tries to link these two observations. There is a two-step process for creating an RSL. First, underground water ice must mix with a combination of chlorine and sulfate salts to create a type of suspension that destabilizes the regolith in the area. The dry wind and dust storms of Mars then blow up the destabilized material.

No, these are not streams of water. But the Persevance rover will not only look for subterranean ice, but also subterranean water.

To do this, it is equipped with a special georadar (Radar Imager for Mars’ subsurface experiment, RIMFAX), to obtain images of soils of different densities and subsurface rocks to detect underground water ice and salt brine at a depth of up to 10 m. If there is even a very thick salt brine – the presence of microbiological life forms is highly likely.

The Curiosity rover has been on Mars since 2011. He is exploring Gale Crater. Perseverance landed in the Lake Lake crater.

The distance between them is more than 3000 kilometers. They communicate with control centers on Earth via satellite communications, they are not connected to each other.

But two rovers are currently working on Mars, and they are exploring the planet, analyzing the soil and atmosphere, looking for subsoil liquid and frozen water, trying to detect biosignatures – traces of life. This is the beginning.


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