content long 22-October-2017 15:54:39

Winners Greece

13-15 years old: The lakes of Titan

 Author: Andrew Georgopoulos

Throughout history people have been interested in stars and planets. With the evolution of humanity, followed by the continuing development of technology, people were able to do the unthinkable which was to travel in space and even land on the moon. However, the vastness of space is such that we still have many things to explore and research.
With NASA’s and ESA’s scientists humanity is learning more and more about space every day. As a result of their hard work and research Cassini was launched into space, twenty years ago, and since then it has taken space exploration to another level. One of the revelations that immediately caught my attention was that more than 1.6 million sq km of Titan – almost 2% - are covered in liquid. Ι believe that this is very significant and ought to be further researched.

 Furthermore, of all of the moons in our solar system Titan is the only one with a thick atmosphere and large liquid reservoirs on its surface a fact which makes it more like a planet such as Earth. In fact, Titan and Eceladus are the most likely to be inhabited by humans. Moreover, Titan has been considered by NASA’s astrobiologist McKay as a suitable place for emergency landings. Titan has got a lot of advantages such as only needing oxygen (O) and very warm clothes to survive on its flat surface.

It is also thought that there may be life on Titan which is another worthy reason to study it further. Titan has a similar cycle of matter to the one on our planet; the water cycle, which scientists call methane cycle because of methane’s properties which enable it to turn into other forms (solid, liquid, aerial). This means that there is a great possibility of methane based life-forms existing there. This can lead to the discovery of other life-forms.

Moreover, because of its atmosphere it is believed that when the sun turns into a red dwarf, there is also a great possibility for the creation of life, which means that we are not alone. According to Athina Koutsenis, who was there when Cassini was launched in 1997, the data collected on a daily basis, provides a lot of information on the creation of our planetary system and of our planet. She also believes that the study of the atmospheric structure of Titan, due to its similarity to our atmosphere, contributes to the global research on climate change and the impact of the greenhouse effect on our planet.

Even though, Eceladus plumes and Saturn’s hexagon are interesting and can offer scientists a great deal of information on space, Ι believe that the uniqueness of Titan and its lakes can offer more than just information about outer space. It can also provide information about various phenomena that we come across on our planet.  
 


Last Update: 19 June 2017

For further information please contact: SciTech.editorial@esa.int

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