Grade level: 7
School: CollËge des Saints-Coeurs-Sioufi
Teacher: Colette Krause
"Titan, the second largest moon in our solar system, is the largest moon of Saturn. It is known to be the only place to have liquid lakes on its surface beside earth. This fascinating world was first discovered by Christian Huygens in 1655, who named it Saturni Luna, Latin for Saturn’s moon. The name ‘‘Titan’’ came from John Hershel.
This moon has lakes and big bodies of liquid like on earth, but unlike our planet these lakes are made of methane and ethane, if you come in contact with them this could give you frostbite. But, by wearing protective gear you would be able to swim in it with no consequence. Methane is also present in the rain too; this phenomenon could explain the river like holes on its surface. Exploring this celestial object may one day help us discover new elements and other amazing findings.
Unlike Europa and Enceladus, the 1000 km thick atmosphere of Titan, mostly composed of nitrogen, is an extremely important factor for the possibility of life to be present. This material is crucial for all life, as it is an important part of many cells. It is also made of 0.2% hydrogen, since hydrogen is one of the most common atoms, this element is surprisingly important for life. Hydrogen helps the existence of nearly every living organism, as we can assume that it is one of the checked conditions needed for life.
One of the similarities between Titan, Europa and Enceladus is the presence of an underground liquid water ocean. Located under a layer of water ice, this part of the moon should contain life because everywhere we find water, we find life; at least we should. This may not be habitable for humans but this underground layer might be home to millions of microscopic organisms and bacteria. If we could find any organism or bacteria, this discovery could be a base for many new other discoveries in outer space. This ocean is still a mystery for us but deeper research could reveal much more than we know today.
To survive on Titan, you don’t need a pressure suit but it would feel like being at the bottom of a pool. To survive there, you would only need an oxygen mask and a suit that can protect you from the cold since the temperature is near -180°C. The gravity on this celestial object is 86% less than on earth; you would then be able to jump eight times higher.
Exploring this flammable yet frozen world could reveal all its secrets. Finding everything this thick atmosphere is hiding, could be a next step to finding the possibility of life in outer space. Discovering things human kind never thought of, could help us not only in space but also here on earth. Sending another space craft to Titan could be able to help science and biology go further or even find new remedies for diseases and might be a great stepping stone to discover other planets."