Hydrogen cyanide

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Overview:

Scientists have found hydrogen cyanide — a key molecule in the creation of life — in the oceans of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, according to a new study based on data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Cassini spacecraft.

About Hydrogen cyanide

  • It is a colorless or pale-blue liquid or gas with a bitter, almond-like odor.
  • It is also known as hydrocyanic acid or HCN.
  • Hydrogen cyanide interferes with the body’s use of oxygen and may cause harm to the brain, heart, blood vessels, and lungs. 
  • It is an excellent solvent for many salts, but it is not widely used as a solvent because of its toxicity.
  • Application: It may be used in the workplace for fumigation, electroplating, mining, chemical synthesis, and the production of synthetic fibers, plastics, dyes, and pesticides. 

Key facts about the Cassini spacecraft

  • The mission was launched by NASA in 1997 and orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017, circling the planet 294 times.
  • It measured the structure of Saturn’s atmosphere and rings, as well as how they interact with the planet’s moons.
  • It also discovered six named moons and revealed Enceladus and Titan as promising locations to search for extraterrestrial life.

Q1) What is Fumigant ?

Fumigant, any volatile, poisonous substance used to kill insects, nematodes, and other animals or plants that damage stored foods or seeds, human dwellings, clothing, and nursery stock. Soil fumigants are sprayed or spread over an area to be cultivated and are worked into the soil to control disease-causing fungi, nematodes, and weeds.

Source: Scientists find hydrogen cyanide, key molecule for life formation, in Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus