Space and Science

How life may find a way on Saturn’s moon

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Vinyl cyanide, a complex organic molecule, was detected on Titan

The molecule is capable of forming spheres like cell membranes

CNN  — 

It may not be like the alien life in science fiction, but researchers have just confirmed the presence of something that may lead to life on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, according to a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances.

Vinyl cyanide is a complex organic molecule capable of forming cell membrane-like spheres. While it may sound toxic, this chemical would be right at home on Titan, where significant quantities of it have been detected through data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, a group of radio telescopes in Chile.

Titan isn’t exactly known for being hospitable.

Larger than both our own moon and the planet Mercury, Titan is unique in our solar system. It is the only moon with clouds and a dense atmosphere of nitrogen and methane, which gives it a fuzzy orange appearance.

Its atmospheric pressure is 60% greater than Earth’s, meaning it exerts the kind of pressure you feel at the bottom of a swimming pool, according to NASA.