Sam's Blog

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Titan Ocean! OMG!

Posted by samgr on March 20, 2008

I try to avoid writing posts that are just a link and commentary, but this is really cool. Analysis of Cassini data suggests that there might be a liquid water ocean under Titan’s mushy surface. If this is true, I think Titan just scooted in front of Europa as the best possible place to look for extraterrestrial life in our solar system. Titan is full of organic molecules, and the combination of organics and warm(ish) liquid water is pretty hopeful.

The downside is: how are we gonna build stuff there now? I’d always liked the idea of Titan as a place to colonize- Earthlike atmospheric pressure so we can build huge domes, availability of chemicals needed for agriculture, etc. But that’s no good if when we try to build a house on what we thought was the surface, it’ll sink through the crust with a loud SHLOOP and disappear into several miles of ocean. D’oh.

UPDATE: According to the NYTimes, the icy layer on top of the ocean is actually 50 or 60 miles thick, so maybe it’s not so much of an issue that things will shloop through it. Also, this says that Europa is still a better bet for life because the water has contact with volcanic rock, which would provide an energy source. What I don’t get is that if the water on Titan ISN’T heated by the core, where does the heat come from and why is it liquid…

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One Response to “Titan Ocean! OMG!”

  1. wait does that picture actually exist? I don’t remember any picture being taken of me that looks like that. especially in front of a white background…

    DGR

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