Plastic…On Saturn’s Moon?

by filip_bec on October 2, 2013 - 11:06pm

Plastic is an everyday sue material. We have plastic containers, plastic bottles and other common plastic objects. And for the first time in humanity, we found plastic outside our planet. And it is not far from us just a few light years away, on Saturn’s Moon.

Actually, it is not pure plastic NASA scientists found on Titan, Saturn’s Moon, but the chemical essential for the creation of the plastic we know. In Titan’s atmosphere, there are many chemical compounds, and of them is propylene. It is NASA’s Cassini spacecraft that found this chemical. When put together, propylene becomes polypropylene and this is the plastic we are used to see. Go find a bottle, see if there is a sign with a 5 and two P’s, and here you go, you have polypropylene in your hands. Before Cassini, it was Voyager 1 back in the 80’s that found the composition of the atmosphere of Titan. It found the lightest and the heaviest chemicals, such as hydrocarbon, propane and propyne. The problem with Voyager 1 was that it couldn’t detect the middle-weight chemicals. Fortunately, Cassini was more technologically advanced, and completed the puzzle. With the finding of propylene, the carbon family was filled. Cassini used infrared spectrometer to find this chemical, a tool that Voyager didn’t have.

Personally, I think this is a great discovery. We don’t usually see common material such as plastic in space. With this success, NASA researchers will try to go even deeper in Titan’s atmosphere. Who know what they will find next? And that’s what beautiful about science. You don’t get bored. You keep finding stuff you don’t even expect to find. We can’t know too much. Every information is useful, and it’s this information that gives us the motivation to continue researches. Space has no limits, and the more we know about it, the more we can understand about it. I still wait for the day we will find an Earth look-a-like planet.

More information about the discovery of propylene on Titan can be found on the link down below: