By the American Geophysical Union
The frigid lakeshores of Saturn’s moon Titan might be encrusted with strange, unearthly minerals, according to new research being presented here.
Scientists re-creating Titan-esque conditions in their laboratory have discovered new compounds and minerals not found on Earth, including a co-crystal made of solid acetylene and butane.
Acetylene and butane exist on Earth as gases and are commonly used for welding and camp stove fuel. On Titan, with its extremely cold temperatures, acetylene and butane are solid and combine to form crystals, the new research found.
The new mineral might be responsible for the bathtub rings that are suspected to exist around Titan’s hydrocarbon lakes, according to Morgan Cable of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, who will present the new research Monday at the 2019 Astrobiology Science Conference.
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