Saturn’s moon Titan has an ingredient of plastic in its atmosphere.
New data from the Cassini spacecraft shows that the moon’s lower atmosphere contains molecules of propylene, which is used to make plastic containers and other products on Earth.
The propylene discovery came as no surprise to astronomers, who have been searching for the molecule in Titan’s atmosphere since the Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by the moon in 1980. The scientists had found other light and heavy carbon-based molecules on the moon but never this plasticlike one.
Astronomers, who report the findings September 30 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, say it is one of the first definitive detections of an ingredient for plastic found on any planet or moon other than Earth.