What is Titan: Definition and 42 Discussions

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 a dense atmosphere, and the only known body in space, other than Earth, where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found.Titan is one of seven gravitationally rounded moons in orbit around Saturn, and the second most distant from Saturn of those seven. Frequently described as a planet-like moon, Titan is 50% larger (in diameter) than Earth's Moon and 80% more massive. It is the second-largest moon in the Solar System after Jupiter's moon Ganymede, and is larger than the planet Mercury, but only 40% as massive. Discovered in 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, Titan was the first known moon of Saturn, and the sixth known planetary satellite (after Earth's moon and the four Galilean moons of Jupiter). Titan orbits Saturn at 20 Saturn radii. From Titan's surface, Saturn subtends an arc of 5.09 degrees and, were it visible through the moon's thick atmosphere, would appear 11.4 times larger in the sky than the Moon from Earth.
Titan is primarily composed of ice and rocky material, which is likely differentiated into a rocky core surrounded by various layers of ice, including a crust of ice Ih and a subsurface layer of ammonia-rich liquid water. Much as with Venus before the Space Age, the dense opaque atmosphere prevented understanding of Titan's surface until the Cassini–Huygens mission in 2004 provided new information, including the discovery of liquid hydrocarbon lakes in Titan's polar regions. The geologically young surface is generally smooth, with few impact craters, although mountains and several possible cryovolcanoes have been found.
The atmosphere of Titan is largely nitrogen; minor components lead to the formation of methane and ethane clouds and heavy organonitrogen haze. The climate—including wind and rain—creates surface features similar to those of Earth, such as dunes, rivers, lakes, seas (probably of liquid methane and ethane), and deltas, and is dominated by seasonal weather patterns as on Earth. With its liquids (both surface and subsurface) and robust nitrogen atmosphere, Titan's methane cycle bears a striking similarity to Earth's water cycle, albeit at the much lower temperature of about 94 K (−179.2 °C; −290.5 °F).

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  1. Lieutenant Barclay

    Titan implosion: underwater shockwave?

    Like many I’ve been captivated by the Titan story. I’m wondering a few things: 1. Was a shock wave cause by the implosion? 2. Would marine life have been killed similarly to “fishing w/ dynamite”? Kill radius? 3. A TV talking head claimed the inside of the vessel would have heated to “a temp...
  2. S

    I Exploring Titan: the Next World We Could Inhabit?

    ... could inhabit? https://getpocket.com/explore/item/let-s-colonize-titan
  3. Astronuc

    The Future of Space Travel: Can We Protect Our Brains from Radiation on Titan?

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/lets-colonize-titan/ I'm thinking, look at all the 'fossil fuel', actually hydrocarbons. Send the petrochemical industry first so they can plasticize the moon. :-p:oldbiggrin: Actually, GCRs are fairly well characterized. Doesn't even have to...
  4. BillTre

    Description of Titan and Potential Approaches to its Exploration

    Titan's geology (involving a lot of organic molecules) is briefly described and possible appproaches to its exploration are discussed, in this NY Times article.
  5. mfb

    NASA Is a VTOL electric aircraft possible for exploring Titan?

    Not personally, of course... or not yet? The Dragonfly mission was selected as fourth mission in the New Frontiers program (the previous missions were New Horizons, Juno, and OSIRIS-REx). Dragonfly is a helicopter that can fly in the dense atmosphere and low gravity of Saturn's moon Titan. The...
  6. mfb

    I Disappearing lakes on Titan - seasonal cycles

    Earth and Titan are the only objects in the Solar System with stable liquids on its surface. Earth has water oceans, lakes, rivers and rain, Titan has methane/ethane oceans, lakes, rivers and rain. Earth has seasons, and so does Titan. They are just much longer as Saturn's orbital period is 29.5...
  7. wolram

    B New Topographic Map of Saturn's Moon Titan Reveals Liquid Flows

    Using the now-complete Cassini data set, astronomers have created a new global topographic map of Saturn's moon Titan that has opened new windows into understanding its liquid flows and terrain. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180106190439.htm I found this fascinating I hope others do.
  8. mfb

    NASA NASA finalists for New Frontiers: Rosetta's comet or Titan

    NASA selected two finalists for the next round of the New Frontiers program, missions with a cost below $850 million. Both get funding to further refine the proposals, in early 2019 one of them will be selected. CAESAR wants to go back to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, previously visited by the...
  9. J

    Assessing Power Rack Max Load: A Scientific Inquiry

    I'm a petroleum engineer, so this is outside of my wheelhouse... I'm also a fairly avid metal worker and fabricator. Also I ask this question out of a curiosity, not because I'm building a rack or basing a financial decision off of the verdict of any resulting calculations. I feel like the "max...
  10. D

    A What keeps Rhea stable? Simulation shows Titan-assist escape

    Hi everyone, I have created a simulation of the major bodies in the Solar System, using the exact positions, velocities, and masses etc. at midnight on Jan 10 (as provided by the NASA HORIZONS project). Using Newtonian gravity I numerically simulate the forces between all the bodies (with a...
  11. L

    B Living on Titan: A New World for Humans?

    I've read a few articles claiming that Titan will be the most reasonable place for humans to move once the Earth is burned to a crisp by our red giant sun in a few billion years. Even if the temperature does in fact become habitable on Titan, how great could it be living on a moon of some giant...
  12. newjerseyrunner

    Could a Titan probe detect life with polarized light?

    I had a thought and was wondering if it's viable to detecting whether or not life exists in Titan's hydrocarbon seas, whether we get direct evidence or not. Titan lakes are hydrocarbons, which likes to create twisted polymer chains. Nature (lightning, cosmic rays...) should produce polymers...
  13. B

    The Potential of Titan: Igniting Methane Oceans for Photosynthesis

    If a methane-filled planet or moon like Titan was pulled toward a star, as the methane warmed and became gaseous, would it be possible to ignite it, converting the methane oceans to H2O with a CO2 atmosphere, which could in turn cause photosynthesis to naturally occur? If it's possible, it...
  14. Ygggdrasil

    What might cell membranes look like on Titan?

    Life on Earth uses water as a solvent, but scientists have long speculated about the possibility of life existing in non-aqueous environments. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, has seas of liquid methane, and scientists at Cornell wanted to test whether structures similar to cell membranes could...

    The Damascus Titan II Nuclear Missle Accident

    So, I bought a copy of "Command and Control" and I found out that a made for TV movie about this incident called "Disaster at Silo 7" came out on VHS format and is pretty hard to find. Amazon had 4 copies but 40 dollars for a pretty old VHS tape that probably has low quality is not something I...
  16. O

    Would tardigrades survive on Titan?

    If Titan's hydrocarbon seas were seeded with tardigrades, would the tardigrades survive and thrive?
  17. T

    Titan vs Earth: Hydrocarbons vs Water - Pros and Cons for Thriving Life Forms

    Water is incredible. We see lakes of hydrocarbons on Titan and they remind us of water lakes on Earth, so we postulate that an entirely difference sort of life might thrive there. But do liquid hydrocarbons really have what it takes to do all the things that water does? Here's my question...
  18. R

    How to find the escape speed of moon Titan?

    Homework Statement Saturn’s moon Titan is the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere, which is 95% nitrogen molecules (N2), similar to Earth’s atmosphere. At Saturn’s distance from the Sun, the temperature of the atmosphere is only 95 K (−180◦ C), and the molecules have an average...
  19. Garth

    Experience the Incredible Descent onto Titan: How Did They Do It?

    Check out the University of Arizona's Huygen's Titan Descent Movie Garth
  20. R

    The atmosphere of titan and mars

    If Mars' mass is .1 Earths and the pressure of its atmosphere is .6 kPa then why is Titan's atmosphere 147 kpa when its mass is .02 Earths? Apparently mass is not much of a factor in determining a planet's atmosphere.
  21. S

    Titan - Exposed to large amounts of Oxygen

    Titan has rivers of liquid methane creeping in an atmosphere of mostly nitrogen. The lack of oxygen prevents the planet from being ridiculously unstable. Here’s my question -- If an asteroid rich in oxygen (or H2O) crashes into Titan, could the oxygen present in the projectile be enough to...
  22. S

    Exploring Methane Ice and the Possibility of Life on Saturn's Moon Titan

    Hello! I am an undergrad at the University of Calgary. Lately I have been reading about Saturn's satellite Titan and all of the new data from the Cassini orbiter and the Huygens probe. Ever since 6th grade when I did a school project on Titan it has been blasting my mind. A moon with an...
  23. C

    Exploring Life on Titan & Beyond: Questions for Astrophysicists

    Hello, I'm new here, and I really don't know much about astrophysics so would appreciate it if your replies were as simple as possible I've read that scientists are hopeful to find life on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, because the planet resembles Earth in its earlier stages. I have a few...
  24. S

    Titan - the next closest thing to Earth.

    Can Titan substain human life? Answer: no. The temperature on Titan is a freezing -179 degrees C, or 290 degrees F. But unlike other moons, Titan, in fact has known bodies of water on it. Which is amazing. But sadly, if you ever lived to stand on Titan, the pressure would literally bust...
  25. B

    Scientists Discover Liquid on Saturn's Moon Titan

  26. M

    Appearance of the lakes on Titan

    If you could be there to have a look, what would their color be? How transparent would they be? What would the waves be like in the lower gravity?
  27. O

    Is Titan's Hydrocarbon-Rich Composition Evidence for Abiotic Oil Formation?

    Doesn't the fact that Titan is full of hydrocarbons kinda prove the Abiotic oil theory?
  28. M

    Calculators Ti-89 Titan: HOW DO YOU PUT THIS IN?

    Hey guys. I posted here to find out how to put the below functions into the Ti-89 Titanium. And how to insert values into them. I know there are some smart people here so I decided ask for some help. Help is much appreciated! Thanks! :biggrin...
  29. L

    What Did We Discover on Titan?

    I know that in 2005 the Heuygens probe landed on Titan, Saturn's biggest Moon. What did we find out?
  30. Q

    Exploring the Dunes of Titan to the Mysterious Dune-boarding Terrain

    Dune-boarding anyone?! Saturn's moon Titan has dunes [Friday, May 5, 2006 Posted: 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)] http://edition.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/05/05/titan.dunes.reut/index.html
  31. turbo

    Shoreline on Saturn's Moon Titan - Yahoo News

  32. S

    Have you seen new images of Titan?

    New images from Titan! Have you seen new images of Titan?! http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/image-details.cfm?imageID=1310 http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Cassini-Huygens/SEMC8Q71Y3E_1.html#subhead2
  33. M

    Mysterious Creature Spotted by Huygens Probe on Titan

    http://www.fileplace.info/14012005/3697.jpg This creature has been spotted by the Huygens probe in the surface of Titan... Now is clear that the next objective of such abject monsters will be the invasion of Earth. I think that I'm going to hide myself in my underground hideaway...
  34. Orion1

    Exploring Titan: Cassini Probe's Journey Towards Saturn's Mysterious Moon

    Reference: http://www.harktheherald.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=43676&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
  35. C

    What's Up with Titan's Unusual Clouds?

    Anybody else see this http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/titan_mysteries_041028.html Seems Titans clouds arn't what they expected.
  36. marcus

    Closest Image of Titan: Atmosphere Revealed

    BBC article today closest image of Titan, 750 miles atmosphere fairly transparent, bluish surface features visible, but no lakes http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3953187.stm
  37. marcus

    Titan Surface Probe: Cassini Flyby & Huygens Descent

    here is an article posted yesterday (Friday) http://www.rednova.com/news/display/?id=96361 what other articles do you have about this? a flyby of Titan by the Cassini craft releasing a small probe, Huygens, intended to parachute to surface (possibly liquid) Cassini will come within...
  38. N

    Methane Cloud Found at Titan's South Pole

    From; http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gs2.cgi?path=../multimedia/images/titan/images/PIA06404.jpg&type=image “A bright cloud of methane particles is apparent in all three images near the south pole. It's persistence over an extensive range of colors indicates that these cloud particles are...
  39. P

    What Fascinating Discoveries Await on Titan?

    http://www.physicspost.com/articles.php?articleId=196 enjoy
  40. Ivan Seeking

    Saturn’s Titan Eyed For Increased Exploration

    http://space.com/images/031014_huygens_02.jpg http://space.com/scienceastronomy/titan_probes_040203.html
  41. Ivan Seeking

    Titan may have oily oceans: BBC