Will NASA Find Life on Titan?

Will NASA Find Life on Titan?

Illustration for article titled Will NASA Find Life on Titan?

JoAnna Wendel is a science cartoonist and writer in Washington, DC. She loves space, planets, rocks, and her cat, Pancake. You can find her work at joannawendelcomics.com and follow her on Twitter at @JoAnnaScience.

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Gonna be a Dougie Downer here. I’m firmly in the “life is rare” category, and see no evidence that life is likely to be found on an environment like Titan. We can speculate as much as we want about how life might happen on Titan but I think the fact is that even where conditions are ideal the likelihood of life originating is extremely small. I would go so far as to suggest that even if conditions are perfectly earth like and conducive to life originating, still the chances are life originating are trillions to one.

I’m prepared to be wrong on that, but I’m equally prepared to be right.

This is not to say that I oppose sending probes to Titan. It’s an interesting place with lots to recommend it. However the universe is full of interesting places.

If you asked me, I’d say that Ceres would be a better place to spend the money to visit, but I may have different priorities. I’d say that Titan isn’t going anywhere and doesn’t have any particularly exploitable resources except knowledge. Ceres on the other hand is a very useful dwarf planet, with easily exploitable resources that could be a base for exploration of the entire solar system.