Life around Saturn, and beyond. ASTR 1420 Lecture 15 Sections 9.3. Saturn’s Moons. 62 Moons, 53 named (18 above). Mostly icy, some with rocky cores. Titan is the 2 nd largest moon in our Solar System & only one with a “real” atmosphere with N 2 , CH 4 , CO 2 (1.5 bar!)
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looks like a dry streambed!
Water ice as rocks…
A feature most likely formed by a liquid methane flow. Taken by Huygens probe.
Theoretical models predict that a single methane rainstorm can produce several inches of rain…
Cassini pictures of Saturn's moon Titan taken in 2004 and 2005 show that a large methane lake suddenly appeared after what looked like a heavy rainstorm
A Cassini radar image juxtaposed with an image of the Lake Superior
water: 0 to 100C, methane: -182C to -164C, ethane: -183C to -89C
Possible ethane world?
Key factor size (gravity)
How does Titan have an atmosphere when even a larger moon Ganymede doesn’t?
distance from the Sun
effect of their host planetsOrigin of Atmosphere
Image of Titan taken from Cassini orbiter
Namib desert from Space Shuttle
about 200°C colder than liquid water much slower chemical reaction slower metabolism
Complex organic aerosols consisting of CHN and hydrogen gas (H2), which escapes into space. Ethane and methane partly condense, forming clouds and hazes that precipitate, replenishing the lakes and bearing many organic species in solution. (Nature 454, 587-589; 31 July 2008)
Cassini (2006) : 2007-03-27 APOD
3rd largest moon of Saturn
largest moon of Neptune
icy volcanism (cryo-volcanism)