Titan's hydrocarbon seas: "an organic chemical factory"

211802main_titanartistconcepthiresAccording to mission news released yesterday by the Cassini team, the surface of Titan has "hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth." One geophysical scientist, referring to the carbon found on the Saturn moon, called it "a giant factory of organic chemicals."

Understanding how that liquid is cycled between the seas and the moon's atmosphere in a harsh environment like Titan may contribute to an understanding of the origins of carbon-based life throughout the universe.

The image above is an artist's conception of Titan seas.

More information on this mission may be found here.


Image credit: Steven Hobbs (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia).