Rayan Pierre Khoury

Rayan Pierre Khoury

School: Saint Joseph School (Kornet Chahwan)

Grade: 11

City: Beirut

Teacher: Petra Bou-Hadir

"Since the dawn of time, men have searched for an alternate location that may be suitable to provide them with shelter in case of an emergency that may damage or end life on Earth. Home to numerous lakes and rivers, the second largest moon in our solar system, and most importantly, hospitable, Saturn’s moon, Titan, has revealed numerous characteristics that have been linked to Earth-like conditions, giving hope for life on it. This moon’s atmosphere is composed mostly of nitrogen, which is very similar to Earth’s atmosphere; however the pressure on Titan is double that on Earth.

As a person seeking knowledge and new ground-breaking discoveries, Titan’s characteristics show prominent aspects of suitable living conditions. Titan shows to have a hard, icy surface with water underneath, which may be a sign of life. The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe also measured radio signals during its descent to the surface, in 2005 that strongly suggested the presence of an ocean 35 to 50 miles (55 to 80 kilometers) below the icy ground. On this planet, consisting of hydrocarbon lakes and rivers, can be a potential hospitable shelter for people in dire need. Hydrocarbons such as methane, propane, and butane are essential for our daily lives. Hydrocarbons are used in heating, cooking, lighters, and most importantly, they are used as fuels in electric generators, which also release less carbon dioxide than fossil fuels.

Furthermore, Titan’s atmosphere has been proven to be dense enough for an individual to walk without a spacesuit, but some concerns might be the freezing cold or the lack of oxygen. However, building and establishing life on Titan is feasible and possible.

Hydrocarbons can be used to produce energy, followed by the instalment of oxygen generating systems that separate oxygen from Compressed Air through a unique process called Pressure Swing Adsorption. (PSA). The Pressure Swing Adsorption process generates enriched oxygen gas from tanks sent to Titan by space shuttles. This air then goes through a synthetic Zeolite molecular sieve to absorb excess nitrogen. Moreover, propane provided by the rivers can be used to generate heat, since the temperature on Titan is minus 179 degrees Celsius.

To conclude, Titan has proven to share similar characteristics and specificities with Earth, in addition to its composition that showcases hope and livable conditions. Therefore, I believe that this moon reveals a possibility of life, a safe haven for the generations to come, and is humanity’s second hope of life. Finally, this moon may or may not be currently a shelter to unknown species yet to be discovered."

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