Titan is suggested as a target for colonization, because it is the only moon in the Solar System to have a dense atmosphere and is rich in carbon-bearing compounds. Robert Zubrin identified Titan as possessing an abundance of all the elements necessary to support life, making Titan perhaps the most advantageous locale in the outer Solar System for colonization, and saying “In certain ways, Titan is the most hospitable extraterrestrial world within our solar system for human colonization”.
1. Titan has a lot of water ice.
2. Titan has 100 times the hydrocarbons as the Earth. Liquid methane lakes the size of the Great Lakes on Earth. Regular combustion engines or fuel cells could be run on the liquid methane.
3. Titan has an atmosphere that protects against radiation.
hydrosphere of earth 1.5×10^18 short tons
deuterium 2.5X10^13 tons
Titan orbits Saturn once every 15 days and 22 hours. Like the Moon, and many of the satellites of the gas giants, its rotational period is identical to its orbital period; Titan is thus tidally locked in synchronous rotation with Saturn, and always shows one face to the planet.
Robert Zubrin identified Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as “the Persian Gulf of the Solar System”, as the largest sources of deuterium and helium-3 to drive the pending fusion economy, with Saturn the most important and most valuable of the three, because of its relative proximity, low radiation, and excellent system of moons.
Titan has an atmospheric pressure one and a half times that of Earth. This means that the interior air pressure of landing craft and habitats could be set equal or close to the exterior pressure, reducing the difficulty and complexity of structural engineering for landing craft and habitats compared with low or zero pressure environments such as on the Moon, Mars, or the asteroids. The thick atmosphere would also make radiation a non-issue, unlike on the Moon, Mars, or the asteroids.
Titan has a surface gravity of 0.138 g, slightly less than that of the Moon. Managing long-term effects of low gravity on human health would therefore be a significant issue for long-term occupation of Titan, more so than on Mars.
The largest lake on Titan, Kraken Mare, is 1000km in extent but of unknown depth: its complex shoreline morphology and evaporite deposits mapped by Cassini hint at a rich chemistry and climate history. Researchers have developed a practical design for a robot submersible to explore this exotic environment, drawing on experience in terrestrial AUVs/UUVs as well as spacecraft systems. The proposed ~1-tonne vehicle, with a radioisotope Stirling generator power source, would be delivered to splashdown circa 2040, to make a ~90-day, ~2000km voyage of exploration around the perimeter, and across the central depths of, Kraken.
SOURCES – NASA, Wikipedia, NASA NIAC
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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