View Full Version : Huygens, What Will It Find?

2004-Apr-01, 10:09 AM
:huh: Hi All,
We all know from the news bulletins that Huygens is well on it's way to it's destination on the surface of Titan. As pointed out by Fraser in todays newsletter, Titan may well have hydrocarbon oceans on it's surface. This may well be similar to early conditions here on Earth. So my question is this, Given that the surface temperature on Titan is so low, what are the chances of Huygens finding some sort of life on Titan's surface? Obviously I am not refering to intelligent life, but some form of bacterial or simple life. It has been shown that bacterial life can survive in every extreme of temperature variation on Earth. So is it not feasible that a form of life exists out there?
I would like to here your thoughts.

2004-Apr-01, 11:41 AM
I find it hard to speculate about something where much more knowledge will be available soon [January 2005]. It feels like betting on a horse-race.

So, betting on the horse-race, I predict that Huygens will detect no sign of life. It will land in an ocean of low-grade deisel fuel and transmit data for about 5 seconds from the surface. [note that it is early morning and rainy here, and I am feeling pessimistic and thinking of Beagle 2]

2004-Apr-01, 02:21 PM
B) There is a sense of liberty, almost unbridled licentiousness, associated with speculation when not constrained with very many facts. If either gravitational flexing or residual radioactive heating, or both, are present and the speculated hydrocarbons are really there, there may be a veritable zoo of critters. Let's hope they are not intelligent enough to see the Huygens probe as some sort of intentional abuse of their home and also capable of retaliating when they figure out who did it. My guess is that not much that produces free oxygen is there (after Huygens lands, there well may be and their evolution into multicellulars may proceed explosively) or we would have detected it spectroscopically by now.

Within the set of environments that permit evolution, there is a level up to which the more severe ones are the more evolutionary accelerating. Any progeny of such extreme environments are likely to be strongly aggressive by virtue of merely having survived.

What do we know about the severity of lightning storms on Titan? :unsure:

2004-Apr-01, 04:10 PM
What do we know about the severity of lightning storms on Titan?

I don't know, but since every planet with an atmosphere that has been probed does have lightning it wouldn't surprise me if there is lightning on Titan. I'll hand that question to google.


2004-Apr-01, 04:16 PM
Well, this is what i found

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf...s/343442a0.html (http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v343/n6257/abs/343442a0.html)

Apparently no lightning has been detected yet, maybe Cassini will.


Polly V
2004-Apr-03, 05:44 PM
Free Oxygen really isn't a limiting factor where microbial life is concerned. Many organisms on earth use bound-oxygen for respiration and give methane as a by-product. The bacteria would be something entirely different there. Here they are water based, perhaps some sort of antifreeze substance base for life. :huh:

Or as stated earlier gravitational flexing that generates enough heat, so that a water-based organism could be viable.

I'm waiting on pins and needles either way.

2004-Apr-04, 04:17 AM
Hello all. Im a new member here :)

I just found out about this probe heading to Titan Via NASA.gov
Its tuff to say what or if there is any life there. We just have to wait some years to find out. Look at the mars Rovers. They confirmed there was once water on mars due to Rock Deterorations.

2004-Apr-04, 10:53 PM
I think it's too cold for life... I'm dying to find out what the surface is like though :)

2004-Apr-16, 06:41 PM
Make again fool of me, but I tell you ESA's study of Saturnus moon Titan of one of the voyagers if I remember well talks about few monoxide in higher atmosphere. I am the author of a Flemish story with flashbacks to Titan. Me I can write such a terrible average stories that it is already rewritten by a guy who doesn't know anything about the background of the characters.

Months and months I have studied on about half the copied ESA symposium about the former mission thus. We'll see. Those were all models, with my greatest admiration for the savants who made them.

:P :P :P

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Jul-18, 05:49 PM
it's a great idea, hopefully all will go well for the Titan lander