Hareem Fatima, Adin Fatima, Sarah Kaiser
School: Nada International School
Teacher: Muhammed Shabir
"Before the Cassini spacecraft, Titan was a mystery hidden behind a golden, hazy atmosphere. There would be no hesitation in calling Titan a planet if it weren’t to orbit around Saturn as it’s rivaling with Mercury in size. Titan’s atmosphere is a rich mix of 95% Nitrogen and 5% Methane which extends to an altitude ten times higher than Earth’s. When these gases are exposed to radiation they form tholins. These tholins, when mixed with liquid water, produce amino acids, which are essentially the building blocks of life. Its gravity is equivalent to that of Earth’s moon. It’s a place that’s similar to home but in a different world.
The Cassini spacecraft brought light to the fact that the moon is hiding an underground ocean of liquid water. Titan is the only known moon with clear evidence of having stable bodies of liquid with a system similar to Earth’s water cycle. Thus proving that Saturn’s largest moon could provide a habitable environment. Titan’s storms occur when Methane from its liquid bodies evaporates and then condenses into clouds and rain. Any overflow of Methane would carve a path downhill, just like on Earth. It is possible that Nitrogen bubbles form temporary islands in the bodies of Methane and Ethane.
It has been found that Titan has some impact craters on its surface. These craters have the capability to temporarily melt ice water. As we said earlier, tholins need liquid water to produce amino acids. This implies that if the water stays liquid for a period of time the tholins could mix with it which in turn would produce amino acids.
Bordering Titan’s equator are vast deserts covered in hydrocarbon sand dunes. Comparing the patterns of dunes on both Titan and Earth would reveal wind patterns on Titan. This would bring us one step closer to decoding its complex cryogenic climate system.
Titian volcanoes have lava which is made out of ammonia and water that allows water to melt at a lower temperature. However, the source of Methane on this moon remains a mystery, some scientists believe that it comes from its volcanoes. Titan’s current temperature is -179 degrees Celsius and scientists predict that in 6 billion years its temperature will increase to such an extent that it will be able to support life.
While Titan may be a habitable moon it will take many years and a lot of further research before we can conclude that it truly has the ability to inhabit human life. The possibilities of what we could achieve on Titan are never ending."