Saturday, 28 February 2015

Life not dependent on water could exist on Titan, Saturn's moon.



Titan, Saturn's natural satellite could accommodate a dependent life form methane, according to an experiment carried out by researchers at Cornell University.

They modeled a form "different" life, which does not require oxygen, but methane and that can reproduce and metabolize similar to that of Earth.

Would have a theoretical cell membrane nitrogen and organic compounds could live at liquid methane or minus 292 degrees.

On Earth, life is possible with a phospholipid bilayer membranes, a strong membrane permeable organic matter hosting each cell.

Astronomers currently seeking life forms that thrive thanks to the presence of water, but the theory presented by researchers at Cornell suggests that our galaxy may exist life forms "different" with other substances need to survive. Methane, for example, freezes at a much lower temperature.

Engineers at Cornell their cell membrane called "azotosome". Azotosome site is made up of molecules of nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen, which are known to exist in cryogenically frozen seas of the moon Titan, but has the same stability and flexibility to the cell membrane on Earth.

The researchers have used a molecular dynamics method in order to search for compounds of methane to assemble themselves into a membrane-like structure. The most promising "candidate" was a azotsome acrylonitrile presented good stability, decay resistance and flexibility membranes similar to Earth.

Acrylonitrile is a liquid organic compound, colorless, toxic to be used in the production of acrylic resins and thermoplastics. The compound is present in the atmosphere of the moon Titan.

The next step is to try to show engineers how these cells would behave in an environment methane that would look like metabolism and reproduction in an oxygen-free environment.

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