Sunday, February 21, 2016

Methane Moon

Keeping methane gas out of the atmosphere is on a lot of people’s minds these days, but would a planet with a methane atmosphere look like? Thanks to the Voyager, Cassini and Huygens spacecrafts, we don’t have to wonder. Titan, one of the many moons of the gas giant planet Saturn, not only has methane in its atmosphere and clouds in its gas form but also in its liquid form as rain and lakes.

Titan doesn’t sound so bad, right? It might even support life! However, it’s a frigid -290 °F and life would look pretty different there than it does here on Earth. As organisms that evolved here humans are uniquely suited to the Earth’s specific chemistry and a big change in that chemistry, such as global temperatures warming from methane and other man-made atmospheric pollution, would make the conditions for life on Earth very different from what we are used to. We can't change the in such big ways if we want to keep living on it. 




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