Titan: First Global Map of Saturn’s Moon Reveals Incredible New World

Who says that we should hope to find alien life only on Mars? One of Saturn’s moons called Titan is also a very good candidate, and a recent map of the natural satellite has been created by scientists. They used data gathered by NASA’s Cassini mission during thirteen years of exploration.

Thus, the whole surface of Titan has been mapped, revealing many mountains, craters, valleys, lakes, plains, and others. This is truly surprising for most astronomers.

Yes, Titan has lakes!

What else can a planet need in order to harbor life? Titan has lakes, an atmosphere, wind, and so on. All life forms as the way we know them need water in order to exist. But unfortunately, the lakes from Titan only contain liquid methane.

Rosaly Lopes is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory from Pasadena, California, and she, along with her colleagues, produced the first global map of Titan, by putting together images and measurements taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

The structure

According to the map, two-thirds of Titan’s surface consists of flat plains, 14% of it has hills and mountains, 17% is covered in sand, and 1.5% is terrain carved by rain and erosion.

Ralph Lorenz, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, declared:


The most profound discovery of Cassini is that Titan is so diverse,

It’s almost like a completely different world, and this systematic mapping marshals that diversity.

Life on Titan?

Astronomers have been wondering for plenty of time if there are any aliens living on Titan. Complex life forms like us or just bacteria, it doesn’t matter much which kind. Lopes is also optimistic about finding life on Saturn’s biggest moon someday:

Titan has an atmosphere like Earth. It has wind, it has rain, it has mountains. It’s a really very interesting world, and one of the best places in the Solar System to look for life,

The findings have been published on 18 November in Nature Astronomy.

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