Alien crystals ‘unlike any seen on Earth’ could be on Saturn’s moon Titan

The Cassini spacecraft's view of the moons Tethys and Titan are disrupted by the rings of Saturn in this December 7, 2011 NASA handout obtained by Reuters January 13, 2012. The larger moon, Titan is on the left. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing sides of Tethys and Titan. The angle also shows the northern, sunlit side of the rings from less than one degree above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 3.1 million kilometer from Titan. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Handout  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
The Cassini spacecraft's view of the moons Tethys and Titan were captured in 2012 (Getty)

Crystals unlike anything seen on Earth could adorn lakes on the surface of Titan, a moon of Saturn where huge dunes of frozen chemicals roll across the surface.

NASA has previously said that liquid water may exist deep under Titan's surface - making it one of the places in the solar system where life could exist.

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory simulated the brutally cold ‘chemical soup’ of Titan’s surface - and found crystals which don’t exist on Earth.

Previously the researchers have discovered two ‘molecular minerals’, but recently unearthed a third made from acetylene and butane (used in welding and cooking stoves on Earth).

On Titan, where the temperature is 90 Kelvin, they actually form crystals, the researchers say.

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The researchers wrote in a paper, ‘We have demonstrated previously that some organic molecules readily form co-crystals in Titan-relevant conditions, including acetylene.

‘We report here preliminary evidence for a third co-crystal between acetylene and butane, which could be the most common molecular mineral discovered so far.’

The researchers believe that structures of the strange crystals could form circles around the lakes of liquid methane on Titan’s surface.

structures of alien crystals encircling Titan's methane lakes.

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