What is Titan? All About Planet Titan
Saturn’s largest moon Titan is an extraordinary and special world. Among the more than 150 known moons of our solar system, Titan is the only one with a significant atmosphere. And of all the places in the Solar system, it is the only place other than Earth known to have liquids in the form of rivers, lakes, and seas on its surface.
Titan is larger than planet Mercury and is the second-largest moon in our solar system. Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is only slightly larger (about 2 percent). Titan’s atmosphere, like Earth’s, is mostly made up of nitrogen, but its surface pressure is 50 percent higher than Earth’s. Titan has clouds, rains, rivers, lakes, and seas of liquid hydrocarbons like methane and ethane.
The largest seas are hundreds of feet deep and hundreds of miles wide. Titan’s thick water ice is more fluid under its shell. It is an ocean mainly made up of water rather than methane. Titan’s groundwater, as we know it, can be a place for life. Surface lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbon can accommodate life using different chemistry than we are used to. Titan can also be a lifeless world.
This image shows the first sunlight reflected from a hydrocarbon lake on Saturn’s moon Titan. The glow on a mirror-like surface is a specular reflection. This kind of glare was detected by a visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on July 8, 2009. Scientists using VIMS confirmed the presence of the liquid in 2008 in Ontario Lacus, the largest lake in the southern hemisphere.
This natural-color image shows the upper atmosphere of Titan, an active place where methane molecules are broken down by solar ultraviolet light, and byproducts combine to form compounds such as ethane and acetylene. Haze scatters preferably blue and ultraviolet light wavelengths, making its complex layered structure more visible at the shorter wavelengths used in this image.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sees bright methane clouds in the summer skies of Saturn’s moon Titan, as well as clusters of dark hydrocarbon lakes and seas around the north pole.
10 Things You Should Know About Titan
- Titanic Satellite
Saturn’s largest moon Titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system. It is bigger than the planet Mercury.
- The Way Out
Titan orbits Saturn about 886 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) from the Sun.
The same side of Titan always faces Saturn. Therefore, it takes 16 days for Titan to orbit Saturn and return once.
- Rock-Hard Ice
Titan is an icy satellite with a rock-hard water ice surface. However, it is possible that Titan also has an ocean of liquid water below its surface.
We know that Titan has an important atmosphere in the solar system. It is mostly the only nitrogen satellite like the Earth.
6.Solo Orbitation Return
Titan has no known satellites, but a moon may have moons.
There is no ring on Titan, but some of Saturn’s moons have rings in the past. Some of its moons form rings around the planet.
8.A Traveler and a Long-Term Guest
Three other spacecraft Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 studied Titan while flying on Saturn. However, Cassini flew 127 times near Titan while in orbit of Saturn for 13 years.
Titan’s subsurface ocean can be a place where life can exist as we know it, and surface lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbon may be the quest for the life we do not know.
- Come and Travel
Titan’s air is so intense that you can walk around without a spacesuit. But you need an oxygen mask and protection from the bitter cold.
Do you know?
As exotic as it may sound, in some ways it is one of the most hospitable worlds in the solar system. Titan’s nitrogen atmosphere is so dense that a person will not need a pressure suit to move around the surface. However, an oxygen mask and protection against cold will be needed. The temperature on Titan’s surface is around -290 degrees Fahrenheit (-179 degrees Celsius).
Titan’s dense atmosphere and gravity roughly equivalent to Earth’s Moon mean that a drop of rain falling from Titan’s sky will fall slower than on Earth. World rain falls at about 20 miles per hour. Scientists have calculated that the rain on Titan falls at about 3.5 miles per hour. Titan’s raindrops are also quite large. Earth raindrops have a maximum diameter of about 0.25 inches. Raindrops on Titan can reach 0.37 inches in diameter.
Titan became prominent with the U.S.S project, ‘Star Trek’, made in 2009, and the distortion of Titan’s atmosphere was used to sneak into the Romulan ship attacking Earth. Titan also appeared in an episode of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ as well as the movie ‘Star Trek Nemesis’. He is also featured in the movie ‘Gattaca’ and ‘Futurama’ and ‘Eureka’ and some other television shows and movies such as the iconic anime series ‘Cowboy Bebop’. It includes Titan as well as dozens of video games and several comics from Marvel and DC, among others.
Titan has been a scene or subject in dozens of short stories and novels of the legendary “Star Trek” actress Nichelle Nichols, as well as science fiction giants including Arthur C. Clark, Philip K Dick, and Isaac Asimov. Even literary greats like Kurt Vonnegut included Titan in their fiction.