Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Scientists Reconsider Habitability of Saturn's Moon

Grinspoon speculated that life on Titan, if there is any, might be able to produce energy by mixing acetylene, a hydrocarbon abundant in Titan's atmosphere, with hydrogen. The energy could then be harnessed to power metabolism or to heat their surroundings.

"In environments that are energy-rich but liquid-poor, like near the surface of Titan, natural selection may favor organisms that use their metabolic heat to melt their own watering holes," Grinspoon said.

Which reminds me: Why the hell did I set aside Grinspoon's "Lonely Planets"? He had enough smart things to say about exobiology that I was willing to forgive his rote Face on Mars dismissal.

1 comment:

W.M. Bear said...

Yeah, Grinspoon's one of the Good Guys among exobiologists. At least he seems much more open than many to unorthodox ideas on a lot of related topics, including SETI. All the more remarkable considering that he works directly for NASA in a position of considerable authority. As to his position on the Face, I think NASA must make its scientists recite the scientific equivalent of the Nicene Creed to ensure their orthodoxy. Otherwise, they're excommunicated! Anyway, yeah, Lonely Planets is definitely on my list too, I just haven't gotten there yet.