Life in the Saturnian Neighborhood

  • Athena Coustenis
  • Francois Raulin
  • Georgios Bampasidis
  • Anezina Solomonidou
Chapter
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 24)

Abstract

The Cassini–Huygens mission has revealed a very active and diverse Saturnian system in which several satellites show promising conditions for habitability and the development and/or maintenance of life. Titan, for example, is the only other body in the solar system besides Earth to possess a dense atmosphere composed essentially of nitrogen (97 %) and in which the combination with methane (2 %) gives rise to a host of organic compounds. The presence of seasonal effects, unique geomorphological features, and a probable internal liquid water ocean make Titan one of the most astrobiologically interesting bodies. Another Cassini discovery of tremendous relevance to astrobiology is the large organic-ladden plumes ejected from Enceladus’ south pole cracks, mainly made of water vapor but suggestive of a complex organic chemistry occurring in the interior of this small satellite, in the presence of liquid water. Future extensive and in situexploration ideas which could help us improve our understanding of these issues in the Kronian system are also discussed here.

Keywords

Liquid Water Planetary Body Subsurface Ocean Prebiotic Chemistry Huygens Probe 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athena Coustenis
    • 1
  • Francois Raulin
    • 2
  • Georgios Bampasidis
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anezina Solomonidou
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Univ.Paris-Diderot–MeudonFrance
  2. 2.LISA-IPSL, CNRS/UPEC & Univ. Paris DiderotCréteilFrance
  3. 3.National & Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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