Why it matters: Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is one of the most intriguing objects in our solar system because of its similarity to Earth. Like our main planet, it has a dense atmosphere and seasonal climate cycles, and this is the only other planet or moon on which we have found evidence of liquid on its surface. These factors are prime candidates for further studies to help us better understand the mysteries of the world and how life takes shape, and that is exactly what a group of researchers are doing.
The research team led by Tomče Runčevski of South Methodist University succeeded in reconstructing Titan's unique state in tiny glass cylinders on Earth. As Ranonovsky explains, the team focused on two specific molecules.
“We found that the two molecules most likely to be abundantly present in titanium—acetonitrile (ACN) and propionitrile (PCN)—predominantly occur in a single crystal, resulting in the formation of highly polar nanoparticles, of which patterns can be Self-assembly of other prebiotic molecules of interest". Titan gave it credit after its launch in 1997. The mission officially took place in 2017 with the planned destruction of Cassini by its collapse in Saturn's atmosphere.
Scientists already know a lot about the properties of ACN and PCN on Earth, but their behavior in environments as cold as Titan has not been studied. currently. Through a complex process that simulates atmospheric precipitation, crystals are formed and dissolved using synchrotron and neutron diffraction instruments, spectroscopic experiments, and thermometer measurements. "For example, we found that the crystal form of PCN does not spread uniformly in its three dimensions," Dragonfly said. It was presented at the last meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) last fall. For more information, see the full media report above. p>
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