Humans Should Think About Settling On Saturn’s Moon, Titan, Says NASA Scientist

The best part: we could actually fly on Titan, and not by aircraft.

False-color mosaic of Saturn's moon Titan made from data gathered by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute / Wikimedia Commons/Cropped and Resized

The best part: we could actually fly on Titan, and not by aircraft.

Forget the moon and Mars. In the event that Earth should become uninhabitable, humanity might consider making a new home on Saturn’s moon, Titan, says NASA scientist Janelle Wellons. As former engineer for the Cassini mission, which studied Saturn’s system for 20 years, Wellons knows a thing or two about the gas giant and its many moon — the largest of which is Titan.

The scientist believes that, when it comes to space colonization, we should direct our attention toward a water world, one that is much like our planet. Titan happens to be just that.

According to Futurism, Wellons argues that Saturn’s largest moon would make an excellent place to set up camp and build a future for our species. While this may ring a very familiar – and possibly unsettling – bell to anyone who has seen Lennart Ruff’s 2018 The Titan, Wellons made some pretty solid points in favor of the Saturnian moon during a Reddit Q&A on Wednesday.

It’s Pretty Big

This formidable alien world is the largest and most famous of Saturn’s eight major moons.

Titan was the first one of Saturn’s moons to be discovered and accounts for 96 percent of the mass orbiting the gas giant. In fact, the Saturnian moon is larger than the planet Mercury.

Measuring some 3,200 miles across, Titan is 1.5 times as big as Earth’s moon and is the second largest natural satellites in our solar system, after Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede. As such, it could accommodate human settlements quite comfortably, Wellons wrote on Reddit. And that is just one of the many things that Titan has going for it.

“I think we could settle with plenty [of] room.”

Infrared view of Saturn's moon Titan captured by from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
  NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho / Wikimedia Commons/Resized

It Has Atmosphere

Amply studied by the Cassini spacecraft during its 20-year mission in Saturn’s system, Titan is the only moon in the solar system known to have a significant atmosphere, notes NASA. The moon is shrouded in a hazy atmosphere of nitrogen and methane gas, which extends 10 times farther out into space than Earth’s atmosphere.

To make her case that Titan would serve as a suitable home for humans, Wellons pointed out that “it has a thick atmosphere that could help protect us from space radiation.”

But that’s not even the best part. Her biggest selling point was that the atmosphere on Titan is so dense it could potentially allow us to fly.

“We could actually attach wings to our arms and fly on this moon.”

Artist's concept of a dust storm on Titan.
  IPGP/Labex UnivEarthS/University Paris Diderot – C. Epitalon & S. Rodriguez / NASA

It’s Has Surface Liquids

The great thing about Titan is that it’s the only place besides Earth known to host liquids on its surface, argues Wellons. The moon is showered by methane rain that pools on its surface in the form of rivers, lakes, and even seas, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Some of Titan’s largest seas are hundreds of feet deep and hundreds of miles wide.

“These liquids are made of methane but, armed with the right kind of protective gear, one could theoretically be able to swim without harm!”

Artist's of hydrocarbon ice floating on Titan's methane lakes.
  NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS / Wikimedia Commons/Resized

It Has Potential To Harbor Life

But not all of Titan’s liquids are made of methane. Beneath the moon’s thick crust of rock-hard water ice lies a subsurface ocean that’s made primarily of water. This bounty of liquids is what makes Titan one of the best potential candidates for hosting life.

“Titan’s subsurface water could be a place to harbor life as we know it, while its surface lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons could conceivably harbor life that uses different chemistry than we’re used to — that is, life as we don’t yet know it,” states NASA.

All things considered, Titan is not too shabby as a potential destination for human colonies, says Wellons.

“I don’t know, it just seems like an awesome place to live.”

The downside? It does get a little chilly on Titan. As CNET points out, the moon’s surface temperature measures a tangy minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 179 degrees Celsius).

Even so, we could still walk around without a spacesuit, so long as we have an oxygen mask on and insulating gear to protect us from the bitter cold.