Simulations of Prebiotic Chemistry under Post-Impact Conditions on Titan
AbstractThe problem of how life began can be considered as a matter of basic chemistry. How did the molecules of life arise from non-biological chemistry? Stanley Miller’s famous experiment in 1953, in which he produced amino acids under simulated early Earth conditions, was a huge leap forward in our understanding of this problem. Our research first simulated early Earth conditions based on Miller’s experiment and we then repeated the experiment using Titan post-impact conditions. We simulated conditions that could have existed on Titan after an asteroid strike. Specifically, we simulated conditions after a potential strike in the subpolar regions of Titan that exhibit vast methane-ethane lakes. If the asteroid or comet was of sufficient size, it would also puncture the icy crust and bring up some of the subsurface liquid ammonia-water mixture. Since, O’Brian, Lorenz and Lunine showed that a liquid water-ammonia body could exist between about 102–104 years on Titan after an asteroid impact we modified our experimental conditions to include an ammonia-water mixture in the reaction medium. Here we report on the resulting amino acids found using the Titan post-impact conditions in a classical Miller experimental reaction set-up and how they differ from the simulated early Earth conditions. View Full-Text
Share & Cite This Article
Turse, C.; Leitner, J.; Firneis, M.; Schulze-Makuch, D. Simulations of Prebiotic Chemistry under Post-Impact Conditions on Titan. Life 2013, 3, 538-549.
Turse C, Leitner J, Firneis M, Schulze-Makuch D. Simulations of Prebiotic Chemistry under Post-Impact Conditions on Titan. Life. 2013; 3(4):538-549.Chicago/Turabian Style
Turse, Carol; Leitner, Johannes; Firneis, Maria; Schulze-Makuch, Dirk. 2013. "Simulations of Prebiotic Chemistry under Post-Impact Conditions on Titan." Life 3, no. 4: 538-549.