Saturn's Largest Moon 'Titan' May Become A Future Space Tourism Attraction, Scientists Say

First Posted: Mar 20, 2017 04:59 AM EDT

Titan is the only other celestial body (apart from Earth) that is known to host stable liquid bodies. However, in the light of new experimental evidence as well as the data sent by the NASA Cassini spacecraft, scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California, have revealed that the lakes present on its surface are like "cosmic soda cans" that erupt due to changes in the ambient temperature and methane to ethane ratio.

The NASA Cassini spacecraft has done numerous flybys of the Saturn's largest moon Titan, during which it has found that the surface temperature of Titan is around -179.5°C (-291°F). Its atmosphere is composed of around 95 percent nitrogen and 4.9 percent of methane and ethane. These gases rain down in their liquid form and create the illustrious lakes and seas.

According to New Atlas, the NASA scientists created artificial lakes like that of Titan's and tried to replicate the environmental conditions existing on it, to study the nature and properties of the actual ultra cold lakes of Titan. They found that the lakes absorbed higher amounts of nitrogen when the lakes were rich in methane and the surrounding environment had higher pressure and lower temperatures. However, the situation becomes opposite, i.e., the lakes bubble out nitrogen whenever there occurs a slight increase in temperature or change in the methane to ethane ratio.

The images previously captured by the NASA Cassini spacecraft had shown the existence of floating bodies (islands) in the Titanic lakes and seas. However, these islands were found to be extremely unstable and most often disappear in subsequent images. Scientists are of the opinion that the magic islands were in fact incredibly large nitrogen bubbles that are transient in nature, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Furthermore, the NASA scientists are of the opinion that the fizzy nature of Titan may potentially impact the functioning of the robotic probes to be sent in the future. On the bright side, the celestial beauty and periodically erupting lakes of Titan may make it a space tourism attraction.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics