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SciAm bloggers: Should we colonize Saturn’s moon Titan?

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Titan's atmosphere makes Saturn's largest moon look like a fuzzy orange ball in this natural color view from the Cassini spacecraft.
Titan seen from Cassini/NASA

Science writer Charles Wohlforth and planetary scientist Amanda R. Hendrix argue at Scientific American that it’s pretty much the only place off Earth that humans could live.

The idea of a human colony on Titan, a moon of Saturn, might sound crazy. Its temperature hovers at nearly 300° below zero Fahrenheit, and its skies rain methane and ethane that flow into hydrocarbon seas.

Just needs a bit of staging, as a real estate agent friend would say. Anyway, here’s the theory:

It’s cold on Titan, at -180°C (-291°F), but thanks to its thick atmosphere, residents wouldn’t need pressure suits—just warm clothing and respirators. Housing could be made of plastic produced from the unlimited resources harvested on the surface, and could consist of domes inflated by warm oxygen and nitrogen. The ease of construction would allow huge indoor spaces.

Titanians (as we call them) wouldn’t have to spend all their time inside. The recreational opportunities on Titan are unique. For example, you could fly. The weak gravity—similar to the Moon’s—combined with the thick atmosphere would allow individuals to aviate with wings on their backs. If the wings fall off, no worry, landing will be easy. Terminal velocity on Titan is a tenth that found on the Earth. More.

<em>Coffee</em> Tins Well, if we don’t like Mars, we can always move to Titan, right?

One wonders: If this is people’s idea of a habitable extraterrestrial environment, Earth is even more special than we thought.

See also: NASA to spend less on climate change, more on space exploration


Hawking: Our lease on Earth is up in 1000 years. Must colonize other planets.

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Just don't call the passenger vessel that takes you there the "Titanic"... EDTA

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