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Can Saturn Support Life?



Saturn can NOT support life.

More Info: As a gas giant, Saturn cannot support life as we know it, but scientists are very interested in searching Saturn’s moons for signs of life.  Saturn’s hydrogen and helium atmosphere is about -150 degrees Celsius at the surface and quickly reaches extreme pressures beneath the surface.  Because of the strong convection currents and turbulence in the atmosphere, organisms would be forced to survive all of these conditions.

Titan and Enceladas

Two of Saturn’s moons, Titan and Enceladas, draw a great deal of attention because of their underground oceans.  Scientists recently discovered the subsurface ocean on Titan, a moon that was already known to contain abundant organic molecules and lakes of methane.  Enceladas also may have a subsurface body of water at its south pole with a geyser erupting into space.  Scientists would like to collect this water to look for organic molecules.  However, a mission to Saturn’s moons would require 15 years to complete the round trip.

Life on Saturn’s Moons

Intriguingly, Titan may be forming organic molecules without liquid water, which was thought to be necessary.  Large molecules were detected in Titan’s atmosphere of methane and nitrogen, which is thought to be similar to Earth’s early atmosphere.  In order to explain what these unidentified molecules might be, scientists replicated the conditions of Titan’s atmosphere and discovered the formation of the four bases that make up DNA.  The oxygen necessary for the reaction is thought to come from the geyser on the neighboring moon Enceladas.



“Life On Mars? Try One Of Saturn’s Moons Instead : NPR.” NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

“Life on Saturn moon? Discovery of hidden ocean on Titan tantalizes. (+video) –” The Christian Science Monitor – N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

“How Titan might be making DNA building blocks –” The Christian Science Monitor – N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

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