Intriguing new research shows that liquid water may not be a must-have ingredient for life in the universe, and that strange new lifeforms may be lurking in distant, much colder worlds at the edge of the solar system — and beyond.
A new study coming out of Cornell University published this past week in the journal Science Advances gives us our first tantalizing hints that life may not need to be based on water-chemistry, but could be based on liquid methane instead. And it turns out that Saturn’s largest moon, the methane-sea covered Titan, fits the bill perfectly (at least theoretically).
A team of chemical engineers and astronomers looked at how the nitrogen-based chemistry on this distant world may be just right to form cell membranes that could, in theory, function in the minus 292 degrees temperatures found on the surface of this smoggy moon.
“It is possible to construct structural analogs to terrestrial bio-membranes that may work in the Titan environment, and it alsoRead More »from Just add methane: Liquid water may not be required for strange new lifeforms