As an addendum to my previous post on prospective life on Titan, I should point out a couple of things from those papers I cited…
Citing Tobie et al (2006), Mitri et al (2007) state that;
“Since Cassini-Huygens indicates that such [hydrocarbon] oceans are not present, the atmospheric methane abundance might be the result of a geologically recent outgassing episode from the interior.”
While this is a perfectly fair and reasonable conclusion to draw, I must say that my inner skeptic is finding it increasingly difficult to believe that the entire solar system just happens to be full of the effects of geologically recent events – which don’t presently appear to be occurring. Phrases like “geologically recent outgassing” are rapidly becoming catch-all possible explanations for things which we can’t fully account for. The more frequently I see paragraphs like this, the more difficulty I have in believing that they’re all true. Certainly, some probably are, but if the same is true of at least 3 different planets, it’s something of a coincidence, wouldn’t you say?
Also, McKay and Smith, in closing, mention;
“If life has evolved in this environment its effects, as on Earth, are unlikely to be subtle.”
Quite. I expect we will inevitably discover extraterrestrial life. When we know what we’re looking for, chances are good that it’ll be staring us right in the face. Perhaps literally, who knows?