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Paper: Plausible Organic Synthesis on Titan’s Surface
Volume: 420, Bioastronomy 2007: Molecules, Microbes and Extraterrestrial Life
Page: 183
Authors: Abbas, S. H.; Schulze-Makuch, D.
Abstract: Titan’s nitrogen and hydrocarbon dominated atmosphere is the site of very complex organic chemistry leading to the production of numerous species including larger molecules from smaller molecular, ionic and radical precursors. Photochemical conversion of methane and other precursors produces smog in the middle to upper layers of the atmosphere, and an organic rain of methane, higher hydrocarbons, and nitrogen-containing aerosols falls onto Titan’s surface, producing an Earth-like terrain of extended river channels that contain a “soup” of several important organic precursors. Here we describe plausible organic chemistry under Titan’s surface and near surface conditions and present synthetic schemes based on acetylene, hydrocyanic acid, and other small organic precursors resulting in the production of larger molecules. Among the products of these reactions are important biological precursors such as nitrogenous bases and amino acids. We present details of several plausible prebiotic organic synthetic routes in Titan’s surface environment and the implications of such chemistries to the overall process of prebiotic evolution on Titan.
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