Methane as a Possible Solvent for Life

  • Methane (CH4) is abundant in the universe, and a strong candidate as a hypothetical alternative solvent to water.
  • At Earth-like pressures, methane is liquid only at extremely low temperatures, so hypothetical life using ammonia as a solvent might thrive in freezing (relative to water) temperatures, at which water could only exist as ice (at a range of pressures).
  • Titan, moon of Saturn, is believed to have surface lakes of hydrocarbons including liquid methane and ethane. Titan also has an atmosphere, so hypothetical life in such lakes could potentially benefit from the interface of, and chemical exchange at, the lake surface and the atmosphere.
  • Resources include:
An image of Titan showing sunlight reflecting off of its surface liquid seas (the bright orange areas) , public domain image,

© 2015 Fosdick EDS  ☾><(((°>


Leave a Reply