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14 September 2006 The new Titan: an astrobiological perspective
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Since the first Voyager data, Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn and only satellite in the solar system having a dense atmosphere, became one of the key planetary bodies for astrobiological studies, due to: i) its many analogies with planet Earth, in spite of much lower temperatures, ii) the already well observed presence of an active organic chemistry, involving several of the key compounds of prebiotic chemistry, in the gas phase but also assumed to occur in the solid phase through the haze particles. And the potential development of a prebiotic chemistry in liquid water, with a possible water ocean in its internal structure, and the possible episodic formation of small liquid water bodies for short but not negligible time duration at the surface (from the melting of surface water ice by impact), iii) the resulting possibility that life may have emerged on or in Titan and may have been able to adapt and to persist. These aspects are examined with some of the associated questions on the basis of the already available Cassini-Huygens data.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
F. Raulin, Y. Bénilan, P. Coll, D. Coscia, M.-C. Gazeau, E. Hébrard, A. Jolly, M.-J. Nguyen, C. Romanzin, and R. Sternberg "The new Titan: an astrobiological perspective", Proc. SPIE 6309, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology IX, 63090I (14 September 2006);


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