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nprev
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone, and since it is a cold time of the year in the northern hemisphere perhaps this is a good time for this topic. smile.gif

Triton's geysers have always fascinated me, particularly the dark material they emit. It seems likely that Pluto and the larger KBOs may be quite similar to Triton. I understand that the probable solvent involved is liquid nitrogen; what I am curious about is whether there have been any low-temp organic chemistry experiments beyond the famous thiolin work by Sagan in order to understand what might happen as far as molecular synthesis under these conditions.

Now, I'm not postulating critters, here (although who can say with absolute certainty what may or may not be possible? rolleyes.gif) Cryogenic organic chemistry seems to be an emerging planetary science discipline, and it would be fascinating to hear what the latest & greatest thoughts are in this vein.
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (nprev @ Dec 24 2006, 08:37 AM) *
Now, I'm not postulating critters, here (although who can say with absolute certainty what may or may not be possible? rolleyes.gif) Cryogenic organic chemistry seems to be an emerging planetary science discipline, and it would be fascinating to hear what the latest & greatest thoughts are in this vein.


My view is that slime happens; more than that is v e r y rare. Slow life, and fast life, and semi-life all seem reasonable prospects, so long as there's an energy gradient and a solvent.

Bob Shaw
nprev
Beyond potentially ambulatory slime (yeah, I liked that! smile.gif ), how about organic cryomagmas, etc.? I'm wondering just how complex this stuff can get in terms of chemical properties given the fact that we have known long-term cryovolcanic activity on three outer-system moons...fascinating stuff.
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (nprev @ Dec 24 2006, 11:43 PM) *
Beyond potentially ambulatory slime (yeah, I liked that! smile.gif ), how about organic cryomagmas, etc.? I'm wondering just how complex this stuff can get in terms of chemical properties given the fact that we have known long-term cryovolcanic activity on three outer-system moons...fascinating stuff.


Perhaps we need look no closer than home; sub-surface ecologies abound on Earth, and a proportion of those are cryoecologies. A serious argument exists to the effect that the bulk of our own planet's ecosystems are 'cryptoecologies', living quite isolated lives deep below us chromophiles on the surface (or, as The Deep Old Ones would say: scum).

Aiii Cthulhu!

Bob Shaw
nprev
H.P. Lovecraft, Bob? I recognize the words, but been a long time...the scum nevertheless trembles... tongue.gif

Anyhow, let me put on my rockhound hat here. I wonder what sorts of exotic minerals might precipitate out of melts on Titan, Triton & Enceladus by analogy to terrestrial silicate/H20 interactions. There could be some incredible museum pieces out there...provided that the museum is kept at or below -320 deg F or so... rolleyes.gif
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (nprev @ Dec 25 2006, 12:33 AM) *
H.P. Lovecraft, Bob? I recognize the words, but been a long time...the scum nevertheless trembles... tongue.gif

Anyhow, let me put on my rockhound hat here. I wonder what sorts of exotic minerals might precipitate out of melts on Titan, Triton & Enceladus by analogy to terrestrial silicate/H20 interactions. There could be some incredible museum pieces out there...provided that the museum is kept at or below -320 deg F or so... rolleyes.gif



Well. put in radionucleide decay, post-impact diapirs, and tidal stresses and I'd think there's all sorts of places for quasi-life to turn up. You're looking at energy-starved environments which, if fed with the appropriate number of Joules, might become host to self-replicating wossisnames. The trouble is that us humans have a natural bent towards two-legged ambulatory life-forms as the litmus test of life, but actually it ain't like that!

Bob Shaw
tasp
It seems cryogenic icy surfaces exposed to energetic solar UV (even in the further reaches of the solar system) can collect/generate some quite interesting molecules.

D type asteroids in particular . . . . ..
nprev
True...so, what might happen on active bodies where this material is recycled into the interior? I think there's an entirely new scientific discipline awaiting discovery here!
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