Can Fossil Fuels Be Found on Other Planets?

To date, there is no authentic evidence regarding the presence of fossil fuels on other planets of the solar system. However, scientists have found traces of oil resources which they are reluctant to call fossil fuels on other planets. Want to know the reason behind it? Let’s explore together.

Reality Behind the Statement

According to the United States EIA (Energy Information Administration) investigation, the traces of crude oil, coal, and natural gas are evidence of the presence of fossil fuels considering that plants and animal residues could have been buried for decades.

However, due to the absence of life on other plants, it’s of no use to even think about the resources of fossil fuels. Here, some scientists have contracting beliefs- according to them, the discovery of the oil on Orion shows the existence of living organisms on the surface. Even they have claimed to find natural gas on one of many Saturn’s moons.

I was wondering how it could even be possible. Want to know the roots of where such claims come? Read ahead, and you will get to know about everything!

Orion Has More Oil Than Earth- Possible?

Satellites discovered 1,300 lightyears, i.e. 200 times more oil in the form of hydrocarbons than the total amount of Earth’s water! As per the statements from German Scientists from the Max Planck Institute, larger hydrocarbon molecule deposits in the Horsehead Nebula Galaxy lie within the Orion Constellation.

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Unlike Earth’s decomposed fossil fuels, these hydrocarbons are believed to have carbonaceous fragments- the waste of dying stars (Stafford, 2012).

Is There Any Life on Orion?

After a lot of research, scientists concluded that there is evidence of a massive natural petroleum refinery. Even though oilmen don’t remember crude oil compounds, their studies are enough to support their words.

In fact, some speculate that organic compounds survived on space-borne molecules during the early stages of life.

Saturn with Natural Gas?

Saturn has one of the most famous moons among all planets named Titan, which has been found to have more liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas than the Earth’s reserves.

Scientists discovered gathering f hydrocarbons to form dunes and lakes, which they used to measure through NASA’s Cassini mission to evaluate the presence of substances.

According to Ralph Lorenz, from Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Cassini radar team, Titan has the most organic molecules and carbon-bearing materials that assist researchers in understanding Titan’s climate history and geological characteristics.

With -179 degrees, it’s almost impossible to survive on Titan, which is why it has liquid hydrocarbons, namely ethane and methane, that are believed to be dunes from tholins.

Why do Scientists think Titan is Similar to Earth?

After mapping 20% of Titan’s surface, the Cassini radar found hundreds of seas and lakes with expectedly more liquid hydrocarbons than oil and gas reserves on the Earth.

The black dune organics along the equator are huge compared to our coal and natural gas reserves.in terms of ethane and methane, lakes on Titan have enough energy to compete with the northern polar regions.

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However, the south has yet to come on the list for comparison because scientists are still unaware of the quantity of liquid on the surface. They know their depth based on an estimated figure with respect to Earth’s lakes.

Are Fossil Fuels Behind the Presence of Methane?

The liquid on Titan is behind the presence of methane, which is referred to as a greenhouse gas. However, studies do not support the notion of Titan’s liquid as methane because, in that case, methane would have lasted for a couple of decades and broken down and escaped into space.

But, it didn’t happen because methane is responsible for regulating Titan’s temperature; otherwise, Titan would be colder (ATREYA, 2009).

Presence of Organic Pay Dirt on Mars- True or Not?

NASA conducted countless satellite operations to find life traces on Mars. Since Curiosity visited Mars in 2012 and brought multiple samples of rock and soil for organic molecule evidence, confusion has gone to a new level.

When studied, the samples showed complex organic macromolecules that, surprisingly, look similar to fossilized gas and oil building blocks of the Earth.

A biogeochemist from the Goddard Space Flight Center NASA in Greenbelt, Jennifer Eigenbrode, claimed that it would be too early to authenticate these molecule stems as fossil fuels.

This is because organic elements can be easily preserved for millions of years under extreme martian surface conditions to get the same results as they found. Therefore, they still have a long way to go to make any claims (McGowan, 2000).

Time to Unlock Organic Molecules

The samples were oven baked from 6000C to 8600C to eliminate contaminants, and the resulting fumes were passed through the mass spectrometer to identify molecules through their weight.

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A welter of lookalike organic signals was picked for studies with different carbon molecule types, preferably strands and short rings called aliphatics and aromatics, respectively (Voosen, 2018).

The patterns, so received, appeared somewhat similar to those generated by Kerogens on Earth- a goopy fossil building block present in rocks, particularly oil shale. These kerogens can, sometimes, combine with sulfur to preserve themselves for billions of years, which Curiosity scientists think of as evidence of the longevity of the compounds of Mars.

These discoveries have a boost to the future of Mars exploration plants. ExoMars Rover of Europe also drilled on Mars’ surface and got to the layers where Curiosity didn’t reach. But, the scientists haven’t come to a conclusion because they are still studying the samples and are reluctant to make any statement beforehand.

References

  1. ATREYU, S. K. (2009, January 19). The Mystery of Methane on Mars and Titan. Retrieved from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN ARABIC: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/methane-on-mars-titan/
  2. McGowan, J. F. (2000). oil and natural gas on Mars. Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology III, 4137, 63-74.
  3. Stafford, J. (2012, December 13). Scientists Find Mega-Oil Field …1,300 Light Years Away. Retrieved from Engineering.com: Scientists Find Mega-Oil Field …1,300 Light Years Away
  4. Voosen, P. (2018, June 07). NASA rover hits organic pay dirt on Mars. Retrieved from Science: https://www.science.org/content/article/nasa-rover-hits-organic-pay-dirt-mars