What are aspects of water that make it more suitable for life than liquid methane?

by stylianos
(Murray kentucky United state)

Earth life revolves fundamentally around the presence of carbon to construct complex biological molecules and the presence of water as a solvent. Thus, in the search for extraterrestrial life we have sought planets that have both carbon and water. Liquid methane (CH4) appears to exist on the moon of Saturn, Titan. Many biochemists and astrobiologists believe that liquid methane may serve as substitute for water in supporting life. Unlike water, which is liquid over a broad temperature range (0° to 100° C) methane is liquid between the temperatures of -183° C and -162° C. However, the temperatures of Titan would mean methane would be liquid on the surface where it evaporates into the atmosphere and rains as it condenses much like water on Earth. (10 pts each)

A major difference between water (H2O) and methane (CH4) is the fact that methane is a hydrocarbon and as such is non-polar and does not hydrogen bond with itself. Besides having a broad temperature range within which it is a liquid. What other aspects of water that make it ideal for life on Earth would liquid methane lack due to it being non-polar?

Click here to post answer.

Return to Biology Question.