Study Material | Test Series
Drishti IAS
call1800-121-6260 / 011-47532596
Drishti The Vision Foundation
(A unit of VDK Eduventures Pvt. Ltd.)
mains Test Series 2018
Saturn's moon Titan might support life even without water
Jul 26, 2016

Liquid water is a requirement for life on Earth. But on Saturn’s largest moon Titan, life might exist beyond the bounds of water-based chemistry, according to a new study by scientists at Cornell University.

On what basis this claim:

  • The researchers look at the presence of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) in the planet’s atmosphere and speculate that it could become a possible prebiotic chemical key, Xinhua reported.
  • Prior studies indicated that on Titan’s surface, HCN can react to form long chains, or polymers, one of which called polyimine.
  • Using computer models and data collected by the NASA’s Cassini and Huygens mission, researchers have revealed that under Titan-like cold environmental conditions, polyimine is flexible and can absorb the sun’s energy and become a possible catalyst for life.


  • Titan is Saturn's largest moon and the second largest in the solar system (after Ganymede of Jupiter).
  • It is the only moon in the solar system with clouds and a dense, planet-like atmosphere.
  • Titan is the sixth ellipsoidal moon from Saturn.
  • Titan is primarily composed of water ice and rocky material. Much as with Venus before the Space Age
  • Titan and Earth have important traits in common.
  • Despite its seemingly inhospitable climate, Titan features terrain with Earth-like attributes such as lakes, rivers and seas. These liquids fall as rain and affect geology through erosion.
  • The moon was discovered by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens in 1655.
  • The Huygens lander probe sent to the moon aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft by the European Space Agency is named in his honor.
  • Huygens was the first human-built object to land on Titan's surface.
  • Titan's mass is composed mainly of water in the form of ice and rocky material.
  • Titan has no magnetic field.

Helpline Number : 87501 87501
To Subscribe Newsletter and Get Updates.