Saturn’s moon Titan may be one of the most valuable worlds in our solar system, after Earth and the Moon. Satellite flyby’s and lunar probes have revealed Titan to be a world with many methane/ethane lakes dotting its surface (at least in the north).
(New York Times) As scientists have predicted but have had a hard time proving, the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, appears to be dotted with lakes of liquid methane. The lakes are more intriguing evidence of the active phenomena at play on the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere. [...]
The radar imaging system detected more than 75 dark patches in the landscape near Titan’s northern polar region, the scientists said in a detailed description of the find published today in the journal Nature.
The patches, they said, indicated smooth surfaces in an otherwise rugged topography, suggesting lake beds either partly dry or filled with liquid. These smooth surfaces, more or less circular and with diameters ranging from 2 miles to 40 miles, are associated with channels that appear to have been formed by flowing liquids, presumably tributaries to the lakes.
Despite the fact that conquering Titan is many generations away, the fact that this world harbors fuel resources is a very comforting thought for future colonists. With Saturn orbiting almost a billion miles away from the Sun, solar power may not be an option for those fortunate enough to land on its various moons.
Harvesting Titan’s methane may provide a cheaper alternative to nuclear and hydrogen fuel via ice, and may allow humans to further explore our solar system without breaking the bank.