Defogging Titan’s methane mystery

New data suggests that the hydrocarbon cycles from the moon’s surface to its atmosphere

2:56pm, September 11, 2009

Methane fog hovering above Saturn’s moon Titan has cleared away any doubt that the hydrocarbon cycles between the moon’s surface and its atmosphere, planetary scientists say.

Titan is the only solar system body other than Earth known to have large quantities of liquid — in this case methane and ethane — on its surface. Scientists have speculated that these liquids may serve as a prebiotic brew, offering a snapshot of the chemistry of the early Earth (SN Online: 8/5/09) .

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