NASA discovers a 'weird' molecule in atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan
New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: American space agency NASA has discovered an unexpected carbon-based molecule in the atmosphere of Titan -- Saturn's intriguing moon that in many aspects is considered the most Earth-like celestial body in our solar system.
The discovery of cyclopropenylidene, or C3H2, in Titan's upper atmosphere holds significance in fact that the molecule may be a precursor to more complex compounds that could form or feed possible like on the the celestial body, as per a report by NASA.
Cyclopropenylidene's discovery in Titan's thick atmosphere is surprising because the molecule can easily react with other molecules it comes into contact with and form different species.
"When I realised I was looking at cyclopropenylidene, my first thought was, 'Well, this is really unexpected," said planetart scientist Conar Nixon. His team's findings were published in the Astronomical Journal.
Closed-look molecules like Cyclopropenylidene form the backbone rungs for the nucleobases of DNA -- the molecule that carries genetic instructions in all living things -- and RNA -- a macromolecule present in all biological cells.
"The cyclic nature of them opens up this extra branch of chemistry that allows you to build these biologically important molecules," said Alexander Thelan, an astrobiologist who worked with Nixon to find C3H2.
Titan is Saturn's largest moon and has an atmosphere four times denser than Earth's. For this reason, it is a hive of chemical activity and proven to be "treasure trove of new molecules", as in the words of Nixon. Scientists suspect that conditions on Earth about 3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago could have been similar to those on Titan today.
Posted By: Lakshay Raja