Long back in 1962, Sci-Fi author Isaac Asimov had described an idea pertaining to survival of life in non-water based ambience. Inspired by Asimov’s concept, On February 27, 2015, James Stevenson and Paulette Clancy – specialists in analyzing chemical molecular dynamics have come up with a paper, with Jonathan Lunine, Cornell Center’s Director for the department associated with Space and Radiophysics research.


Methane Based Cell Membrane May Sustain Life On Titan

The researchers imagined a robust scientific view and explained the premise for existence of life in some harsh, cold planet – for instance, Saturn’s giant moon Titan. The ambience is that of prevalence of liquid methane, devoid of water and harboring oxygen-free cells.

The theory that the researchers conveyed that their ideated cell membranes comprised of nitrogen compounds, smaller and organic, and can function in subzero temperatures, as low as 292 degrees in an ambience of liquid methane. The details were revealed in a paper recently published in Science Advances.

Clancy confirmed that neither is he a biologist, nor astronomer but he and his team harbored the tools and the concepts to come up with preconceptions about a cell membrane made out of methane and such other compounds that they were aware existed in Titan’s surface.

The Theory Of ‘Azotosome’

The engineers have named this cell membrane as ‘azotosome’ – azote in French means nitrogen and ‘soma’ means physique. Hence, azotosome implies ‘nitrogen physique’, and is created with molecules of hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon that are slated to exist in cryogenic seas of Saturn’s moon –Titan.

What surprised the chemists – Clancy and Stevenson is that the azotosome was akin to Earth’s liposome. The chemists also found categorically a promising compound called acrylonitrile azotosome that shows exquisite stability, a barrier to contiguous decomposition and a subtle flexibility, characteristic and comparable to the prevalent phospholipid membranes found on the blue planet.

First Ever Blueprint

Acrylonitrile is a poisonous, colorless organic compound present in Titan’s atmosphere in liquid form used to manufacture resins, thermoplastics and acrylic fibers. Lunine conjectured that the theory may someday be realized by sending some probe to the seas of Titan. Stevenson proudly said that their theory is the first-ever concrete theoretical blueprint of life on Titan.

4 Responses

  1. Woodwind

    Asimov was not only the most prolific science fiction, science fact, and history writer, he was also a tenured biochemist. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he was half a century ahead of his time.

  2. Kurtis Engle

    If the critter is found, that will show life is everywhere.

    But it will be a very short movie. Critter attacks, melts, bursts into flames, gets doused with water. Elapsed time, under a minute.

    • Just another hobo

      If human is found, bursts into flame, doused in methane…elapsed time, under a minute.


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