Scientists say potential life on Titan could be completely different than anything we know

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Sep 27, 2016, 10:32 AM EDT

Scientists obviously have a basic understanding of what it takes for life to exist (we have quite a bit of it to study here on Earth), but they’re starting to realize the playbook won’t work when you’re dealing with a place like Titan.

ScienceAlert reports NASA believes Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is one of the “most Earth-like words found to date.” The only difference? It could be based on methane and completely free of oxygen (you know, the stuff that keeps pretty much everything on Earth alive). If that turns out to be true, any potential life we run across once we’re able to explore Titan could be drastically different than anything we could ever really imagine.

Which makes sense. It’s a big universe, and it stands to reason life could evolve in parallel but extremely different tracks when compared to Earth.

Paulette Clancy from Cornell University said the approach came about by putting aside all preconceptions about what could make a planet habitable. Instead, they focused on the building blocks that could be needed for life — even life that doesn’t need oxygen. Here's hoping that submarine mission NASA is cooking up might get off the ground in the next few decades.

(Via Science Alert)