What you should know about Titan, the largest moon of Saturn

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second-largest natural satellite in the Solar System. It is the only moon known to have dense atmosphere, and the only known body in space, other than Earth where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found.

In the list bellow, we will present you some amazing things about Titan that we think you should know:

  • Magic Island

There is an abundance of methane lakes, which are mainly concentrated near southern pole. In 2014, scientists found a transient feature they playfully referred as the “ Magic Island”. It’s possible that nitrogen bubbles formed in Titan’s oceans sit on the surface for a period of time, creating temporary island that eventually dissipates.

What I think is really special about Titan is that it has liquid methane and ethane lakes and seas, making it the only other world in the solar system that has stable liquids on its surfaces”, Jason Hofgartner, a planetary scientist at Cornell.

  • Possibilities for life

It is thought that conditions on Titan could make the moon more habitable in the far future. If the Sun increases its temperature ( 6 billion years from now) and becomes a red giant star, Titan’s temperature could increase enough for stable oceans to exist on the surface, according to some models. If this happens, condition in Titan could be similar to Earth’s, allowing conditions favorable for some forms of life.

  • Cassini Spacecraft at titan

In 2017, the Cassini Spacecraft wrapped up its two-decade-long mission to Saturn. Launched on October 15, 1997, the spacecraft arrived at Saturn on June 20, 2004. Upon its arrival, Cassini dropped the Huygens probe built by the European Space Agency. Huygens was equipped to study Titan by landing on the Saturn Moon and achieved astounding results. For examle, many mountains above 10.000 feet high have been identified on the moon.

  • Atmosphere on Titan

An orange haze surrounding Titan kept its surface a mystery for Earth’s scientists until the arrival of the Cassini mission in 2004. Titan’s atmosphere extends about 370 miles high (about 600km), which makes it a lot higher than Earth’s atmosphere. Because the atmosphere is so high, Titan was thought to be the largest moon in the solar system for a long time. It was until 1980 that Voyager was close enough to discover it was actually smaller than Ganymede.

  • How it got the name

Titan’s name comes from the Greek mythology. The Titans elder gods who ruled the universe before the Olympians came to power, according to the Theoi Project Website.

The moon was discovered by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens in 1655.The Huygens lander probe send to the moon abourt NASA’s Cassini spacecraft by the European Space Agency is named in his honor. Huygens was the first human-built object to land on Titan’s surface.

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