Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Joshua Sebree


Titan’s atmosphere is unique in that its atmospheric chemistry is thought to be similar to that of the Earth’s atmosphere during the Archean Era, when bacterial life dominated the Earth . Tholins form as a result of the radiation of organic gases by ultraviolet light. These molecules are considered alike to the prebiotic hazes that formed in the atmosphere of Earth during the Archean Era and which allowed for the eventual development of microbial life . This study investigated whether Earth soil bacteria can grow, using laboratory created tholin analogs, or aerosols, as a nutrient source. This study is based on a microbial metabolism study performed by Carl Sagan, which detailed bacterial growth using Titan-analog aerosols as the sole carbon source. We built upon this study, using aerosol analogs that more closely match those of Titan coupled with modern day detection techniques and basic microbiology evaluation techniques. We have found no conclusive results for or against the findings of the original study.

Date of Award



Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (18 pages)



File Format


Available for download on Friday, December 28, 2018