Life on Titan? It’s possible
Can there be life on Saturn’s moon Titan? It maybe possible after scientists unveiled a geological map of the satellite.
The map included vast plains and dunes of frozen organic material and lakes of liquid methane. Could this exotic world be considered a strong candidate for the search for life beyond Earth?
The map was based on radar, infrared and other data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which studied Saturn and its moons from 2004 to 2017. Titan, with a diameter of 5,150 km, is the solar system’s second-biggest moon behind Jupiter’s Ganymede. It is larger than the planet Mercury.
Organic materials – carbon-based compounds critical for fostering living organisms – play a leading role on Titan.
Titan is the only solar system object other than Earth boasting stable liquids on the surface, with lakes and seas full of methane being major features at its polar regions. Hilly and mountainous areas, thought to represent exposed portions of Titan’s crust of water ice, represent 14% of the surface.
All the mountains and collections of hills on Titan are named after mountains, or mountain peaks in Middle-earth, a fictional world created by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) and whose story is told in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and other works. Some examples include Angmar Mons, named after the Mountains of Angmar, Erebor Mons, named after Erebor [The Lonely Mountain], and Moria Mons, which is named after the Mountains of Moria.