What's really new in our paper is that we go into the question of energy sources. If there's life there, what's it going to eat? What kind of food is there? And it turns out there's abundant food because of all this photochemistry in the upper atmosphere, where methane is being turned into other organic molecules. Some of those organic molecules are very energy-rich, and one that we consider in the paper is acetylene. We know it's being made in the atmosphere, we know it's raining down on the surface, and it's been detected at the surface with the Huygens probe. We calculated that, if acetylene is reacting with the hydrogen gas to turn it back into methane, quite a bit of energy is being released. So that's our basis for saying there is something to eat on Titan. We don't know if there are any customers, but there's something on the menu. ">The Living Worlds Hypothesis :: Astrobiology Magazine :: Search for Life in the Universe: "I think the most basic requirements for life come down to needing a source of energy of some kind, needing liquids, and needing some basis for complex chemistry. And we conclude that Titan has all three. Obviously it has liquids - if you've got cryovolcanism, you've got liquid reservoirs of water, or water with ammonia antifreeze, near the surface that occasionally is erupting to form those flows. There are also liquid hydrocarbons silting the surface in places.

What's really new in our paper is that we go into the question of energy sources. If there's life there, what's it going to eat? What kind of food is there? And it turns out there's abundant food because of all this photochemistry in the upper atmosphere, where methane is being turned into other organic molecules. Some of those organic molecules are very energy-rich, and one that we consider in the paper is acetylene. We know it's being made in the atmosphere, we know it's raining down on the surface, and it's been detected at the surface with the Huygens probe. We calculated that, if acetylene is reacting with the hydrogen gas to turn it back into methane, quite a bit of energy is being released. So that's our basis for saying there is something to eat on Titan. We don't know if there are any customers, but there's something on the menu. "


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