Saturn can be seen from Earth with the naked eyes. It is the sixth planet of our solar system. Saturn’s density is less than all the other planets of our solar system. This article is not for Saturn, but for the Saturn’s moon. There are many different types of Saturn’s moon. Many of which are less than 1 km in size and some are larger than a planet. Today we focus on Titan, which is larger than mercury. Here is some new information about Titan, which came from NASA. Before knowing about NASA’s plan for Titan, We see some interesting fact about it.
There are 61 known Moons of Saturn so far. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It’s very cold than the Earth’s moon. The average temperature is minus 180 degrees Celsius. Rivers and lakes of liquid methane instead of water flow. Icy ammonia emanating from the volcano. 95 nitrogen gas in the atmosphere and the remaining 5 percent is the highest proportion of other gasses, including methane. The atmosphere is very dense and reduces the force of gravity. Titan has 5.150 km diameter, this is 1.624 km bigger than the Earth’s moon.
Discovery of Titan
- Christiaan Huygens discovered Saturn’s satellite Titan in 1655.
- Between 1673 and 1686 Giovanni Domenico Cassini discovered four more moons.
- It was renamed Saturn IV.
- In 1847 John Herschel suggested the Saturn’s moon be named Titan.
- Titans are a race of powerful deities from Greek mythology.
Comparison of Titan and Earth
- Scientists think the Saturn’s moon Titan is quite similar in the comparison of the Earth. Their similarity is more as to be expected of them. Titan’s atmospheric characteristics, solar magnetic field and surface structure quite similar to Earth.
- Scientists able to know much more about Titan from the study of collected data which came from NASA’s Cassini probe.
- Methane exists on Titan in the form of a liquid, solid and a gas, just Like water on Earth.
- Rain falls on Titan in the form of liquid methane.
- Scientists believe that the initial composition of the Earth’s atmosphere would be similar to today’s Titan.
- Atmospheric pressure on Titan is only 1.6 greater of that on Earth.
- As methane is a substitute for water on Titan some forms of methanogenic lifeforms could exist in the harsh conditions.
- Titan has an extremely thick atmosphere and like Earth, it consists mainly of nitrogen, 95% in the case of Titan compared to 78% on Earth. The remaining 5% is made up of methane (3%) and hydrogen (2%).
- Another theory is that liquid ammonia oceans could be present deep under the surface which could provide an environment for microbial life to exist.
NASA plans to send nuclear submarine to Saturn’s moon Titan
Because Titan’s condition is much like the Earth. So there is a possibility of life in some form. NASA is considering sending a submarine for exploring the biggest ocean of Titan. This submarine’s target finds out the depth of the biggest ocean of Titan. Also, there will be exploring the signs of life.
Very modern equipment has been used in the submarine for the operation. Through this tool, the chemical composition of the sea, waves, tides and sea surface configurations will be explored. Would put an antenna on top of the submarine. Which will help keep it in contact with the Earth.
NASA scientist Hartwig Jason says that in fact there are the two major reasons because of which we want to go to Titan. First, we have to sure that the hydrocarbon-based life is possible on Titan. Also, there has to explore the possibility of the presence of microorganisms. Titan is the only satellite in our solar system where the clouds and the atmosphere. Extreme cold and liquid methane ocean. It is very similar to the Earth. How life develops this might discover from methane ocean.
Missions Related to Titan
Titan Saturn System Mission
will be Launch in 2020
Agency: Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) is a joint NASA–ESA proposal for an exploration of Saturn and its moons Titan and Enceladus.
The major goals of the TSSM mission:
- Explore Titan as a system
- Study Titan’s organic inventory and astrobiological potential
- Constrain Titan’s origin and evolution models
- Recover information on Enceladus and Saturn’s magnetosphere
Launch: October 1997
Arrival: October 2004
Agency: NASA/ESA (Europe)
Summary: Cassini-Huygens which is a space shuttle mission is studying Saturn and its moons since 2004. This was launched from Earth through the rocket in 1997. In this mission an artificial satellite (for moving around Saturn orbit ) and a spacecraft (for landing on Saturn’s largest moon Titan) was included. Spacecraft to land on Titan was named Huygens. In 2005 he separated from the Cassini spacecraft and landed on the satellite Titan.
Voyager 1 and 2
Launch: August-September 1977
Arrival: November 1980-August 1981
Summary: Voyager 1 made a successful close flyby of Titan but unfortunately did not possess the necessary equipment to see past its thick atmosphere. Voyager 2 passed at a much greater distance so provided little new detail. NASA had the option of sending Voyager 2 to take a much closer look at Titan but instead decided to steer the craft towards Uranus and Neptune.
Launch: April 1973
Arrival: September 1979
Summary: Made a successful flyby of Titan concluding that it was too cold to support life. The craft also sent back low-quality images.