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Titan (moon)

Not to be confused with Titania (moon) or Triton (moon).

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is the only moon


known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object
in space other than Earth where clear evidence of stable
bodies of surface liquid has been found.
Titan is the sixth ellipsoidal moon from Saturn. Fre-
quently described as a planet-like moon, Titan is 50%
larger than Earths Moon, and it is 80% more massive.
It is the second-largest moon in the Solar System, after
Jupiters moon Ganymede, and is larger than the small-
est planet, Mercury, but only 40% as massive. Discov-
ered in 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huy-
gens, Titan was the rst known moon of Saturn, and the
sixth known planetary satellite (after Earths Moon and
the four Galilean moons of Jupiter). Titan orbits Saturn
at 20 Saturn radii. From Titans surface, Saturn subtends
an arc of 5.09 degrees and would appear 11.4 times larger
in the sky than the Moon from Earth.
Titan is primarily composed of water ice and rocky ma-
terial. Much as with Venus before the Space Age, the
dense opaque atmosphere prevented understanding of Ti-
tans surface until new information from the Cassini
Huygens mission in 2004, including the discovery of
liquid hydrocarbon lakes in Titans polar regions. The Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan in 1655.
geologically young surface is generally smooth, with few
impact craters, although mountains and several possible
cryovolcanoes have been found.
Constantijn Huygens, Jr., began building telescopes
The atmosphere of Titan is largely nitrogen; minor com- around 1650 and discovered the rst observed moon or-
ponents lead to the formation of methane and ethane biting Saturn with one of the telescopes they built.[12] It
clouds and nitrogen-rich organic smog. The climate was the sixth moon to be discovered.[13]
including wind and raincreates surface features simi-
He named it Saturni Luna (or Luna Saturni, Latin for
lar to those of Earth, such as dunes, rivers, lakes, seas
Saturns moon), publishing in the 1655 tract De Saturni
(probably of liquid methane and ethane), and deltas, and
Luna Observatio Nova (A New Observation of Saturns
is dominated by seasonal weather patterns as on Earth.
Moon). After Giovanni Domenico Cassini published his
With its liquids (both surface and subsurface) and robust
discoveries of four more moons of Saturn between 1673
nitrogen atmosphere, Titans methane cycle is analogous
and 1686, astronomers fell into the habit of referring to
to Earths water cycle, at the much lower temperature of
these and Titan as Saturn I through V (with Titan then
about 94 K (179.2 C).
in fourth position). Other early epithets for Titan include
Saturns ordinary satellite.[14] Titan is ocially num-
bered Saturn VI because after the 1789 discoveries the
1 History numbering scheme was frozen to avoid causing any more
confusion (Titan having borne the numbers II and IV as
Titan was discovered on March 25, 1655 by the Dutch well as VI). Numerous small moons have been discovered
astronomer Christiaan Huygens.[10][11] Huygens was in- closer to Saturn since then.
spired by Galileo's discovery of Jupiters four largest The name Titan, and the names of all seven satellites of
moons in 1610 and his improvements in telescope Saturn then known, came from John Herschel (son of
technology. Christiaan, with the help of his brother William Herschel, discoverer of Mimas and Enceladus)

1
2 3 BULK CHARACTERISTICS

in his 1847 publication Results of Astronomical Observa- ble orbital island, whereas the massive Titan absorbed or
tions Made during the Years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, at the Cape of ejected bodies that made close approaches.[18]
Good Hope.[15][16] He suggested the names of the mytho-
logical Titans (Ancient Greek: ), brothers and sis-
ters of Cronus, the Greek Saturn. In Greek mythology,
the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of
3 Bulk characteristics
Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden
Age.

2 Orbit and rotation

Size
comparison: Titan (lower left) with the Moon and Earth
(top and right)

A
model of Titans internal structure
Titans orbit (highlighted in red) among the other large inner
moons of Saturn. The moons outside its orbit are (from the out-
side to the inside) Iapetus and Hyperion; those inside are Rhea, Titan is 5,151 kilometers (3,201 mi) in diameter,[3] 1.06
Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, and Mimas. times that of the planet Mercury, 1.48 that of the Moon,
and 0.40 that of Earth. Before the arrival of Voyager
Titan orbits Saturn once every 15 days and 22 hours. Like 1 in 1980, Titan was thought to be slightly larger than
the Moon and many of the satellites of the giant planets, Ganymede (diameter 5,262 kilometers (3,270 mi) and
its rotational period (its day) is identical to its orbital pe- thus the largest moon in the Solar System; this was an
riod; Titan is tidally locked in synchronous rotation with overestimation caused by Titans dense, opaque atmo-
Saturn, and permanently shows one face to the planet, so sphere, which extends many kilometres above its surface
Titans day is equal to its orbit period. Because of this, and increases its apparent diameter.[19] Titans diameter
there is a sub-Saturnian point on its surface, from which and mass (and thus its density) are similar to those of
the planet would always appear to hang directly over- the Jovian moons Ganymede and Callisto.[20] Based on
head. Longitudes on Titan are measured westward, start- its bulk density of 1.88 g/cm3 , Titans composition is
ing from the meridian passing through this point.[17] Its half water ice and half rocky material. Though similar
orbital eccentricity is 0.0288, and the orbital plane is in- in composition to Dione and Enceladus, it is denser due
clined 0.348 degrees relative to the Saturnian equator.[2] to gravitational compression. It has a mass 1/4226 that of
Viewed from Earth, Titan reaches an angular distance Saturn, making it the largest moon of the gas giants rela-
of about 20 Saturn radii (just over 1,200,000 kilome- tive to the mass of its primary, with Titan being 1/22.609
ters (750,000 mi)) from Saturn and subtends a disk 0.8 of Saturns diameter, Triton is larger in diameter relative
arcseconds in diameter. to Neptune at 1/18.092.
The small, irregularly shaped satellite Hyperion is locked Titan is likely dierentiated into several layers with a
in a 3:4 orbital resonance with Titan. A slow and 3,400-kilometer (2,100 mi) rocky center surrounded by
smooth evolution of the resonancein which Hyperion several layers composed of dierent crystalline forms of
migrated from a chaotic orbitis considered unlikely, ice.[21] Its interior may still be hot enough for a liquid
based on models. Hyperion probably formed in a sta- layer consisting of a "magma" composed of water and
3

ammonia between the ice I crust and deeper ice layers


made of high-pressure forms of ice. The presence of am-
monia allows water to remain liquid even at a tempera-
ture as low as 176 K (97 C) (for eutectic mixture with
water).[22] The Cassini probe discovered the evidence for
the layered structure in the form of natural extremely-
low-frequency radio waves in Titans atmosphere. Titans
surface is thought to be a poor reector of extremely-low-
frequency radio waves, so they may instead be reecting
o the liquidice boundary of a subsurface ocean.[23] Sur-
face features were observed by the Cassini spacecraft to
systematically shift by up to 30 kilometers (19 mi) be-
tween October 2005 and May 2007, which suggests that
the crust is decoupled from the interior, and provides
additional evidence for an interior liquid layer.[24] Fur-
ther supporting evidence for a liquid layer and ice shell
decoupled from the solid core comes from the way the
gravity eld varies as Titan orbits Saturn.[25] Compari-
son of the gravity eld with the RADAR-based topogra-
phy observations[26] also suggests that the ice shell may True-color image of layers of haze in Titans atmosphere
be substantially rigid.[27][28]
atmosphere that rotates much faster than its surface.[32]
Observations from the Voyager space probes have shown
4 Formation that Titans atmosphere is denser than Earths, with a sur-
face pressure about 1.45 atm. It is also about 1.19 times
The moons of Jupiter and Saturn are thought to have as massive as Earths overall,[33] or about 7.3 times more
formed through co-accretion, a similar process to that massive on a per surface area basis. Opaque haze layers
believed to have formed the planets in the Solar Sys- block most visible light from the Sun and other sources
tem. As the young gas giants formed, they were sur- and obscures Titans surface features.[34] Titans lower
rounded by discs of material that gradually coalesced into gravity means that its atmosphere is far more extended
moons. Whereas Jupiter possesses four large satellites in than Earths.[35] The atmosphere of Titan is opaque at
highly regular, planet-like orbits, Titan overwhelmingly many wavelengths and as a result, a complete reectance
dominates Saturns system and possesses a high orbital spectrum of the surface is impossible to acquire from
eccentricity not immediately explained by co-accretion orbit.[36] It was not until the arrival of the Cassini
alone. A proposed model for the formation of Titan is Huygens spacecraft in 2004 that the rst direct images
that Saturns system began with a group of moons simi- of Titans surface were obtained.[37]
lar to Jupiters Galilean satellites, but that they were dis-
rupted by a series of giant impacts, which would go on
to form Titan. Saturns mid-sized moons, such as Iapetus
and Rhea, were formed from the debris of these colli-
sions. Such a violent beginning would also explain Titans
orbital eccentricity.[29]
In 2014, analysis of Titans atmospheric nitrogen sug-
gested that it has possibly been sourced from material
similar to that found in the Oort cloud and not from
sources present during co-accretion of materials around
Saturn.[30]

Titans South Pole Vortexa swirling HCN gas cloud (November


5 Atmosphere 29, 2012).

Main article: Atmosphere of Titan Titans atmospheric composition in the stratosphere is


Titan is the only known moon with a signicant 98.4% nitrogen with the remaining 1.6% composed
atmosphere,[31] and its atmosphere is the only nitrogen- mostly of methane (1.4%) and hydrogen (0.10.2%).[9]
rich dense atmosphere in the Solar System aside from There are trace amounts of other hydrocarbons, such
Earths. Observations of it made in 2004 by Cassini sug- as ethane, diacetylene, methylacetylene, acetylene and
gest that Titan is a super rotator, like Venus, with an propane, and of other gases, such as cyanoacetylene,
4 6 CLIMATE

hydrogen cyanide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide,


cyanogen, argon and helium.[8] The hydrocarbons are
thought to form in Titans upper atmosphere in reac-
tions resulting from the breakup of methane by the Suns
ultraviolet light, producing a thick orange smog.[38] Titan
spends 95% of its time within Saturns magnetosphere,
which may help shield it from the solar wind.[39]
Energy from the Sun should have converted all traces of
methane in Titans atmosphere into more complex hydro-
carbons within 50 million yearsa short time compared
to the age of the Solar System. This suggests that methane
must be replenished by a reservoir on or within Titan
itself.[40] The ultimate origin of the methane in its at-
mosphere may be its interior, released via eruptions from
cryovolcanoes.[41][42][43][44][45] clouds, made of methane, on Titan (left) compared with
polar clouds on Earth (right), which are made of water
or water ice.

6 Climate
Main article: Climate of Titan
Titans surface temperature is about 94 K (179.2 C).

Trace organic gases in Titans atmosphereHNC (left) and


HC3 N (right).

On April 3, 2013, NASA reported that complex organic


chemicals could arise on Titan, based on studies simulat-
ing the atmosphere of Titan.[46]
On June 6, 2013, scientists at the IAA-CSIC reported
the detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the
upper atmosphere of Titan.[47]
Atmospheric polar vortex over Titans south pole
On September 30, 2013, propene was detected in the at-
mosphere of Titan by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, using At this temperature, water ice has an extremely low vapor
its composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS).[48] This is pressure, so the little water vapor present appears lim-
the rst time propene has been found on any moon or ited to the stratosphere.[51] Titan receives about 1% as
planet other than Earth and is the rst chemical found much sunlight as Earth.[52] Before sunlight reaches the
by the CIRS. The detection of propene lls a mysterious surface, about 90% has been absorbed by the thick atmo-
gap in observations that date back to NASAs Voyager sphere, leaving only 0.1% of the amount of light Earth
1 spacecrafts rst close yby of Titan in 1980, during receives.[53]
which it was discovered that many of the gases that make
Atmospheric methane creates a greenhouse eect on Ti-
up Titans brown haze were hydrocarbons, theoretically tans surface, without which Titan would be far colder.[54]
formed via the recombination of radicals created by theConversely, haze in Titans atmosphere contributes to an
Suns ultraviolet photolysis of methane.[38] anti-greenhouse eect by reecting sunlight back into
On October 24, 2014, methane was found in polar clouds space, cancelling a portion of the greenhouse eect and
on Titan.[49][50] making its surface signicantly colder than its upper
5

atmosphere.[55]

Global map of Titan with IAU labels (August 2016).

North pole

Methane clouds (animated; July 2014).[56]

Titans clouds, probably composed of methane, ethane or


other simple organics, are scattered and variable, punc-
tuating the overall haze.[19] The ndings of the Huygens
probe indicate that Titans atmosphere periodically rains South pole
liquid methane and other organic compounds onto its
surface.[57] Titan (2014)
Clouds typically cover 1% of Titans disk, though out-
burst events have been observed in which the cloud cover The surface of Titan has been described as complex,
rapidly expands to as much as 8%. One hypothesis as- uid-processed, [and] geologically young.[61] Titan has
serts that the southern clouds are formed when height- been around since the Solar Systems formation, but its
ened levels of sunlight during the southern summer gen- surface is much younger, between 100 million and 1 bil-
erate uplift in the atmosphere, resulting in convection. lion years old. Geological processes may have reshaped
This explanation is complicated by the fact that cloud Titans surface.[62] Titans atmosphere is twice as thick as
formation has been observed not only after the southern Earths, making it dicult for astronomical instruments
summer solstice but also during mid-spring. Increased to image its surface in the visible light spectrum.[63] The
methane humidity at the south pole possibly contributes Cassini spacecraft is using infrared instruments, radar al-
to the rapid increases in cloud size.[58] It was summer in timetry and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging to
Titans southern hemisphere until 2010, when Saturns map portions of Titan during its close y-bys. The rst
orbit, which governs Titans motion, moved Titans north- images revealed a diverse geology, with both rough and
ern hemisphere into the sunlight.[59] When the seasons smooth areas. There are features that may be volcanic
switch, it is expected that ethane will begin to condense in origin, disgorging water mixed with ammonia onto the
over the south pole.[60] surface. There is also evidence that Titans ice shell may
be substantially rigid,[27][28] which would suggest little ge-
ologic activity.[64]
7 Surface features There are also streaky features, some of them hundreds
of kilometers in length, that appear to be caused by wind-
See also: List of geological features on Titan blown particles.[65][66] Examination has also shown the
surface to be relatively smooth; the few objects that seem
to be impact craters appeared to have been lled in, per-
haps by raining hydrocarbons or volcanoes. Radar al-
timetry suggests height variation is low, typically no more
than 150 meters. Occasional elevation changes of 500
meters have been discovered and Titan has mountains
that sometimes reach several hundred meters to more
than 1 kilometer in height.[67]
6 7 SURFACE FEATURES

False-color Cassini radar mosaic of Titans north polar region.


Senkyo region Blue coloring indicates low radar reectivity, caused by hy-
drocarbon seas, lakes and tributary networks lled with liquid
ethane, methane and dissolved N2 .[9] About half of the large
Titans surface is marked by broad regions of bright and body at lower left, Kraken Mare, is shown. Ligeia Mare is at
dark terrain. These include Xanadu, a large, reective lower right.
equatorial area about the size of Australia. It was rst
identied in infrared images from the Hubble Space Tele-
scope in 1994, and later viewed by the Cassini spacecraft.
The convoluted region is lled with hills and cut by val-
leys and chasms.[68] It is criss-crossed in places by dark
lineamentssinuous topographical features resembling
ridges or crevices. These may represent tectonic activity,
which would indicate that Xanadu is geologically young.
Alternatively, the lineaments may be liquid-formed chan-
nels, suggesting old terrain that has been cut through by
stream systems.[69] There are dark areas of similar size
elsewhere on Titan, observed from the ground and by
Cassini; at least one of these, Ligeia Mare, Titans second-
largest sea, is almost a pure methane sea.[70][71]

7.1 Lakes

Main article: Lakes of Titan


The possibility of hydrocarbon seas on Titan was rst Mosaic of three Huygens images of channel system on Titan
suggested based on Voyager 1 and 2 data that showed Ti-
tan to have a thick atmosphere of approximately the cor-
rect temperature and composition to support them, but July 22, 2006, in which the Cassini spacecrafts radar im-
direct evidence was not obtained until 1995 when data aged the northern latitudes (that were then in winter),
from Hubble and other observations suggested the exis- several large, smooth (and thus dark to radar) patches
tence of liquid methane on Titan, either in disconnected were seen dotting the surface near the pole.[77] Based
pockets or on the scale of satellite-wide oceans, similar on the observations, scientists announced denitive evi-
to water on Earth.[72] dence of lakes lled with methane on Saturns moon Ti-
The Cassini mission conrmed the former hypothesis. tan in January 2007.[78][79] The CassiniHuygens team
When the probe arrived in the Saturnian system in 2004, concluded that the imaged features are almost certainly
it was hoped that hydrocarbon lakes or oceans would the long-sought hydrocarbon lakes, the rst stable bodies
be detected from the sunlight reected o their surface, of surface liquid found outside of Earth.[78] Some appear
but no specular reections were initially observed.[73] to have channels associated with liquid and lie in topo-
Near Titans south pole, an enigmatic dark feature named graphical depressions.[78] The liquid erosion features ap-
Ontario Lacus was identied[74] (and later conrmed to pear to be a very recent occurrence: channels in some
be a lake).[75] A possible shoreline was also identied regions have created surprisingly little erosion, suggest-
near the pole via radar imagery.[76] Following a yby on ing erosion on Titan is extremely slow, or some other
7.1 Lakes 7

recent phenomena may have wiped out older riverbeds


and landforms.[62] Overall, the Cassini radar observations
have shown that lakes cover only a few percent of the sur-
face, making Titan much drier than Earth.[80] Most of
the lakes are concentrated near the poles (where the rel-
ative lack of sunlight prevents evaporation), but several
long-standing hydrocarbon lakes in the equatorial desert
regions have also been discovered, including one near the
Huygens landing site in the Shangri-La region, which is
about half the size of Utahs Great Salt Lake. The equa-
torial lakes are probably "oases", i.e. the likely supplier
is underground aquifers.[81]

Near-infrared radiation from the Sun reecting o Titans hy-


drocarbon seas

of 3 to 7 m (9.8 to 23.0 ft).[87] In contrast, the northern


hemispheres Ligeia Mare was initially mapped to depths
exceeding 8 m, the maximum discernable by the radar in-
strument and the analysis techniques of the time.[87] Later
science analysis, released in 2014, more fully mapped the
depths of Titans three methane seas and showed depths
of more than 200 meters (660 ft). Ligeia Mare averages
from 20 to 40 m (66 to 131 ft) in depth, while other parts
of Ligeia did not register any radar reection at all, in-
feature in Ligeia Mare dicating a depth of more than 200 m (660 ft). While
only the second largest of Titans methane seas, Ligeia
contains enough liquid methane to ll three Lake Michi-
In June 2008, the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spec- gans.[88]
trometer on Cassini conrmed the presence of liquid
ethane beyond doubt in Ontario Lacus.[82] On December During a yby on 26 September 2012, Cassini's radar de-
21, 2008, Cassini passed directly over Ontario Lacus and tected in Titans northern polar region what is likely a
observed specular reection in radar. The strength of the river with a length of more than 400 kilometers. It has
reection saturated the probes receiver, indicating that been compared with the much larger Nile river on Earth.
the lake level did not vary by more than 3 mm (imply- This feature is connected to Ligeia Mare.[75] Later, a pa-
ing either that surface winds were minimal, or the lakes per (Liquid-lled Canyons on Titan[89] ) published on
hydrocarbon uid is viscous).[83][84] Geophysical Research Letters on 9 August 2016 reported
about the May 2013 Cassini RADAR altimeter obser-
Specular reections are indicative of a smooth, mirror- vation of Vid Flumina channels, dened as a drainage
like surface, so the observation corroborated the infer- network connected to Titans second largest hydrocar-
ence of the presence of a large liquid body drawn from bon sea, Ligeia Mare. Analysis of the received altimeter
radar imaging. The observation was made soon after the echoes showed that the channels are located in deep (up to
north polar region emerged from 15 years of winter dark- ~570 m), steep-sided, canyons and have strong specular
ness. surface reections that indicate they are currently liquid
On July 8, 2009, Cassinis VIMS observed a specular re- lled. Elevations of the liquid in these channels are at
ection indicative of a smooth, mirror-like surface, o the same level as Ligeia Mare to within a vertical preci-
what today is called Jingpo Lacus, a lake in the north po- sion of about 0.7 m, consistent with the interpretation of
lar region shortly after the area emerged from 15 years of drowned river valleys. Specular reections are also ob-
winter darkness.[85][86] served in lower order tributaries elevated above the level
of Ligeia Mare, consistent with drainage feeding into the
Early radar measurements made in July 2009 and January main channel system. This is likely the rst direct evi-
2010 indicated that Ontario Lacus was extremely shallow, dence of the presence of liquid channels on Titan and the
with an average depth of 0.43 m, and a maximum depth rst observation of hundred-meter deep canyons on Ti-
8 7 SURFACE FEATURES

tan. Vid Flumina canyons are thus drowned by the sea but centric pattern.[97] A smaller, 60-kilometer-wide (37 mi),
there are few isolated observations to attest to the pres- at-oored crater named Sinlap[98] and a 30 km (19 mi)
ence of surface liquids standing at higher elevations. crater with a central peak and dark oor named Ksa have
[99]
During six ybys of Titan from 2006 to 2011, Cassini also been observed. Radar and Cassini imaging have
gathered radiometric tracking and optical navigation data also revealed crateriforms, circular features on the sur-
from which investigators could roughly infer Titans face of Titan that may be impact related, but lack cer-
changing shape. The density of Titan is consistent with a tain features that would make identication certain. For
body that is about 60% rock and 40% water. The teams example, a 90-kilometer-wide (56 mi) ring of bright,
rough material known as Guabonito has been observed by
analyses suggest that Titans surface can rise and fall by [100]
up to 10 metres during each orbit. That degree of warp- Cassini. This feature is thought to be an impact crater
lled in by dark, windblown sediment. Several other sim-
ing suggests that Titans interior is relatively deformable,
and that the most likely model of Titan is one in which ilar features have been observed in the dark Shangri-la
and Aaru regions. Radar observed several circular fea-
an icy shell dozens of kilometres thick oats atop a global
ocean. The teams ndings, together with the results of tures that may be craters in the bright region[101]
[90] Xanadu dur-
ing Cassinis April 30, 2006 yby of Titan.
previous studies, hint that Titans ocean may lie no more
than 100 kilometers (62 mi) below its surface.[90][91] On
July 2, 2014, NASA reported the ocean inside Titan
may be as salty as the Dead Sea.[92][93] On September 3,
2014, NASA reported studies suggesting methane rainfall
on Titan may interact with a layer of icy materials un-
derground, called an alkanofer, to produce ethane and
propane that may eventually feed into rivers and lakes.[94]
In 2016, Cassini found the rst evidence of uid-lled
channels on Titan, in a series of deep, steep-sided canyons
owing into Ligeia Mare. This network of canyons,
dubbed Vid Flumina, range in depth from 240 to 570 Ligeia Mare SAR and clearer despeckled views.[102]
m and have sides as steep as 40. They are believed to
have formed either by crustal uplifting, like Earths Grand
Canyon, or a lowering of sea level, or perhaps a combina- Many of Titans craters or probable craters display ev-
tion of the two. The depth of erosion suggests that liquid idence of extensive erosion, and all show some indica-
ows in this part of Titan are long-term features that per- tion of modication.[96] Most large craters have breached
sist for thousands of years.[95] or incomplete rims, despite the fact that some craters on
Titan have relatively more massive rims than those any-
where else in the Solar System. There is little evidence of
7.2 Impact craters formation of palimpsests through viscoelastic crustal re-
laxation, unlike on other large icy moons.[96] Most craters
lack central peaks and have smooth oors, possibly due to
impact-generation or later eruption of cryovolcanic lava.
Inll from various geological processes is one reason for
Titans relative deciency of craters; atmospheric shield-
ing also plays a role. It is estimated that Titans atmo-
sphere reduces the number of craters on its surface by a
factor of two.[103]
The limited high-resolution radar coverage of Titan ob-
tained through 2007 (22%) suggested the existence of
nonuniformities in its crater distribution. Xanadu has 2
9 times more craters than elsewhere. The leading hemi-
sphere has a 30% higher density than the trailing hemi-
Radar image of a 139 km-diameter[96] impact crater on Titans
sphere. There are lower crater densities in areas of equa-
surface, showing a smooth oor, rugged rim, and possibly a
central peak. torial dunes and in the north polar region (where hydro-
carbon lakes and seas are most common).[96]
Radar, SAR and imaging data from Cassini have re- Pre-Cassini models of impact trajectories and angles sug-
vealed few impact craters on Titans surface.[62] These gest that where the impactor strikes the water ice crust, a
impacts appear to be relatively young, compared to Ti- small amount of ejecta remains as liquid water within the
tans age.[62] The few impact craters discovered include crater. It may persist as liquid for centuries or longer, suf-
a 440-kilometer-wide (270 mi) two-ring impact basin cient for the synthesis of simple precursor molecules to
named Menrva seen by Cassinis ISS as a bright-dark con- the origin of life.[104]
7.3 Cryovolcanism and mountains 9

7.3 Cryovolcanism and mountains Though many phenomena were suggested to explain this
uctuation, the lava ows were found to rise 200 meters
See also: Cryovolcano (660 ft) above Titans surface, consistent with it having
Scientists have long speculated that conditions on Titan been erupted from beneath the surface.[112]
A mountain range measuring 150 kilometers (93 mi)
long, 30 kilometers (19 mi) wide and 1.5 kilometers (0.93
mi) high was also discovered by Cassini in 2006. This
range lies in the southern hemisphere and is thought to
be composed of icy material and covered in methane
snow. The movement of tectonic plates, perhaps inu-
enced by a nearby impact basin, could have opened a
gap through which the mountains material upwelled.[113]
Prior to Cassini, scientists assumed that most of the to-
pography on Titan would be impact structures, yet these
ndings reveal that similar to Earth, the mountains were
formed through geological processes.[114] In December
2010, the Cassini mission team announced the most com-
pelling possible cryovolcano yet found. Named Sotra Pa-
tera, it is one in a chain of at least three mountains, each
between 1000 and 1500 m in height, several of which are
topped by large craters. The ground around their bases
appears to be overlaid by frozen lava ows.[115]
Most of Titans highest peaks occur near its equator in
Near-infrared image of Tortola Facula, thought to be a possible so-called ridge belts. They are believed to be analo-
cryovolcano gous to Earths fold mountains such as the Rockies or the
Himalayas, formed by the collision and buckling of tec-
resemble those of early Earth, though at a much lower tonic plates, or to subduction zones like the Andes, where
temperature. The detection of argon-40 in the atmo- upwelling lava (or cryolava) from a melting descending
sphere in 2004 indicated that volcanoes had spawned plate rises to the surface. One possible mechanism for
plumes of lava composed of water and ammonia.[105] their formation is tidal forces from Saturn. Because Ti-
Global maps of the lake distribution on Titans surface tans icy mantle is less viscous than Earths magma man-
revealed that there is not enough surface methane to ac- tle, and because its icy bedrock is softer than Earths gran-
count for its continued presence in its atmosphere, and ite bedrock, mountains are unlikely to reach heights as
thus that a signicant portion must be added through vol- great as those on Earth. In 2016, the Cassini team an-
canic processes.[106] nounced what they believe to be the tallest mountain on
Still, there is a paucity of surface features that can be un- Titan. Located in the Mithrim Montes range, it is 3,337
ambiguously interpreted as cryovolcanoes.[107] One of the m tall.[116]
rst of such features revealed by Cassini radar observa-
tions in 2004, called Ganesa Macula, resembles the geo-
graphic features called "pancake domes" found on Venus,
and was thus initially thought to be cryovolcanic in origin,
until Kirk et al. refuted this hypothesis at the American
Geophysical Union annual meeting in December 2008.
The feature was found to be not a dome at all, but ap-
peared to result from accidental combination of light and
dark patches.[108][109] In 2004 Cassini also detected an un-
usually bright feature (called Tortola Facula), which was
interpreted as a cryovolcanic dome.[110] No similar fea-
tures have been identied as of 2010.[111] In December
2008, astronomers announced the discovery of two tran- False-color VIMS image of the possible cryovolcano Sotra Patera,
sient but unusually long-lived bright spots in Titans at- combined with a 3D map based on radar data, showing 1000-
mosphere, which appear too persistent to be explained by meter-high peaks and a 1500-meter-deep crater.
mere weather patterns, suggesting they were the result of
extended cryovolcanic episodes.[22] If volcanism on Titan really exists, the hypothesis is that it
In March 2009, structures resembling lava ows were an- is driven by energy released from the decay of radioactive
nounced in a region of Titan called Hotei Arcus, which elements within the mantle, as it is on Earth.[22] Magma
appears to uctuate in brightness over several months. on Earth is made of liquid rock, which is less dense than
10 7 SURFACE FEATURES

the solid rocky crust through which it erupts. Because


ice is less dense than water, Titans watery magma would
be denser than its solid icy crust. This means that cryo-
volcanism on Titan would require a large amount of ad-
ditional energy to operate, possibly via tidal exing from
nearby Saturn.[22] The low-pressure ice, overlaying a liq-
uid layer of ammonium sulfate, ascends buoyantly, and
the unstable system can produce dramatic plume events.
Titan is resurfaced through the process by grain-sized ice
and ammonium sulfate ash, which helps produce a wind-
shaped landscape and sand dune features.[117]
In 2008 Jerey Moore (planetary geologist of Ames Re-
search Center) proposed an alternate view of Titans ge-
ology. Noting that no volcanic features had been unam-
biguously identied on Titan so far, he asserted that Titan
is a geologically dead world, whose surface is shaped only
by impact cratering, uvial and eolian erosion, mass wast-
ing and other exogenic processes. According to this hy-
pothesis, methane is not emitted by volcanoes but slowly
diuses out of Titans cold and sti interior. Ganesa
Macula may be an eroded impact crater with a dark dune
in the center. The mountainous ridges observed in some
regions can be explained as heavily degraded scarps of
large multi-ring impact structures or as a result of the
global contraction due to the slow cooling of the inte-
rior. Even in this case, Titan may still have an internal
ocean made of the eutectic waterammonia mixture with Sand dunes in the Namib Desert on Earth (top), compared with
a temperature of 176 K (97 C), which is low enough dunes in Belet on Titan
to be explained by the decay of radioactive elements in
the core. The bright Xanadu terrain may be a degraded
heavily cratered terrain similar to that observed on the second).[124] The tidal winds are the result of tidal forces
surface of Callisto. Indeed, were it not for its lack of an from Saturn on Titans atmosphere, which are 400 times
atmosphere, Callisto could serve as a model for Titans stronger than the tidal forces of the Moon on Earth and
geology in this scenario. Jerey Moore even called Titan tend to drive wind toward the equator. This wind pattern,
Callisto with weather.[107][118] it was theorized, causes granular material on the surface
Many of the more prominent mountains and hills have to gradually build up in long parallel dunes aligned west-
been given ocial names by the International Astronomi- to-east. The dunes break up around mountains, where the
cal Union. According to JPL, By convention, mountains wind direction shifts.
on Titan are named for mountains from Middle-earth, The longitudinal (or linear) dunes were initially presumed
the ctional setting in fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. to be formed by moderately variable winds that either fol-
Colles (collections of hills) are named for characters from low one mean direction or alternate between two dier-
the same Tolkien works.[119] ent directions. Subsequent observations indicate that the
dunes point to the east although climate simulations indi-
cate Titans surface winds blow toward the west. At less
7.4 Dark terrain
than 1 meter per second, they are not powerful enough to
In the rst images of Titans surface taken by Earth-based lift and transport surface material. Recent computer sim-
telescopes in the early 2000s, large regions of dark terrain ulations indicate that the dunes may be the result of rare
were revealed straddling Titans equator.[120] Prior to the storm winds that happen only every fteen years when Ti-
arrival of Cassini, these regions were thought to be seas tan is in equinox.[125] These storms produce strong down-
of liquid hydrocarbons.[121] Radar images captured by the drafts, owing eastward at up to 10 meters per second
Cassini spacecraft have instead revealed some of these re- when they reach the surface.
gions to be extensive plains covered in longitudinal dunes, The sand on Titan is likely not made up of small grains
up to 330 ft (100 m) high[122] about a kilometer wide, and of silicates like the sand on Earth,[126] but rather might
tens to hundreds of kilometers long.[123] Dunes of this have formed when liquid methane rained and eroded the
type are always aligned with average wind direction. In water-ice bedrock, possibly in the form of ash oods.
the case of Titan, steady zonal (eastward) winds combine Alternatively, the sand could also have come from or-
with variable tidal winds (approximately 0.5 meters per ganic solids produced by photochemical reactions in Ti-
8.1 CassiniHuygens 11

tans atmosphere.[122][124][127] Studies of dunes composi-


tion in May 2008 revealed that they possessed less water
than the rest of Titan, and are thus most likely derived
from organic soot like hydrocarbon polymers clumping
together after raining onto the surface.[128] Calculations
indicate the sand on Titan has a density of one-third that
of terrestrial sand.[129]

8 Observation and exploration

Cassini's Titan yby radio signal studies (artists concept)

Titan was examined by both Voyager 1 and 2 in 1980


and 1981, respectively. Voyager 1's trajectory was de-
signed to provide an optimized Titan yby, during which
the spacecraft was able to determine the density, com-
position, and temperature of the atmosphere, and obtain
a precise measurement of Titans mass.[135] Atmospheric
haze prevented direct imaging of the surface, though in
2004 intensive digital processing of images taken through
Voyager 1's orange lter did reveal hints of the light and
dark features now known as Xanadu and Shangri-la,[136]
which had been observed in the infrared by the Hubble
Space Telescope. Voyager 2, which would have been di-
verted to perform the Titan yby if Voyager 1 had been
unable to, did not pass near Titan and continued on to
Uranus and Neptune.[135]:94

8.1 CassiniHuygens
Voyager 1 view of haze on Titans limb (1980) Main articles: CassiniHuygens and Huygens (space-
craft)
Titan is never visible to the naked eye, but can be ob-
served through small telescopes or strong binoculars. Even with the data provided by the Voyagers, Titan re-
Amateur observation is dicult because of the proxim-
mained a body of mysterya large satellite shrouded in
ity of Titan to Saturns brilliant globe and ring system; an an atmosphere that makes detailed observation dicult.
occulting bar, covering part of the eyepiece and used to
The mystery that had surrounded Titan since the 17th-
block the bright planet, greatly improves viewing.[130] Ti- century observations of Christiaan Huygens and Gio-
tan has a maximum apparent magnitude of +8.2,[7] and
vanni Cassini was revealed by a spacecraft named in their
mean opposition magnitude 8.4.[131] This compares to honor.
+4.6[131] for the similarly sized Ganymede, in the Jovian
system. The CassiniHuygens spacecraft reached Saturn on July
1, 2004, and began the process of mapping Titans sur-
Observations of Titan prior to the space age were lim- face by radar. A joint project of the European Space
ited. In 1907 Spanish astronomer Josep Comas i Sol Agency (ESA) and NASA, CassiniHuygens has proved
observed limb darkening of Titan, the rst evidence that a very successful mission. The Cassini probe ew by Ti-
the body has an atmosphere. In 1944 Gerard P. Kuiper tan on October 26, 2004, and took the highest-resolution
used a spectroscopic technique to detect an atmosphere images ever of Titans surface, at only 1,200 kilometers
of methane.[132] (750 mi), discerning patches of light and dark that would
The rst probe to visit the Saturnian system was Pioneer be invisible to the human eye. Huygens landed[137] on Ti-
11 in 1979, which revealed that Titan was probably too tan on January 14, 2005, discovering that many of its sur-
cold to support life.[133] It took images of Titan, including face features seem to have been formed by uids at some
Titan and Saturn together in mid to late 1979.[134] The point in the past.[138] Titan is the most distant body from
quality was soon surpassed by the two Voyagers. Earth to have a space probe land on its surface.[139] On
12 8 OBSERVATION AND EXPLORATION

July 22, 2006, Cassini made its rst targeted, close y-by the ultraviolet radiation of the Sun, may rain from Ti-
at 950 kilometers (590 mi) from Titan; the closest yby tans atmosphere. They are washed down the hills with
was at 880 kilometers (550 mi) on June 21, 2010.[140] the methane rain and are deposited on the plains over ge-
Liquid has been found in abundance on the surface in the ological time scales.[141]
north polar region, in the form of many lakes and seas After landing, Huygens photographed a dark plain cov-
discovered by Cassini.[77] ered in small rocks and pebbles, which are composed of
water ice.[141] The two rocks just below the middle of the
image on the right are smaller than they may appear: the
8.1.1 Huygens landing site
left-hand one is 15 centimeters across, and the one in the
center is 4 centimeters across, at a distance of about 85
centimeters from Huygens. There is evidence of erosion
at the base of the rocks, indicating possible uvial activ-
ity. The surface is darker than originally expected, con-
sisting of a mixture of water and hydrocarbon ice. The
soil visible in the images is interpreted to be precipita-
tion from the hydrocarbon haze above.
In March 2007, NASA, ESA, and COSPAR decided to
name the Huygens landing site the Hubert Curien Memo-
rial Station in memory of the former president of the
ESA.[142]

8.2 Proposed or conceptual missions

Huygens in situ image from


Titans surfacethe only image from the surface of a
body farther away than Mars

Same image with contrast The balloon proposed for the Titan Saturn System Mission (artis-
enhanced tic rendition)

The Huygens probe landed just o the easternmost tip of There have been several conceptual missions proposed in
a bright region now called Adiri. The probe photographed recent years for returning a robotic space probe to Titan.
pale hills with dark rivers running down to a dark plain. Initial conceptual work has been completed for such mis-
Current understanding is that the hills (also referred to sions by NASA, the ESA and JPL. At present, none of
as highlands) are composed mainly of water ice. Dark these proposals have become funded missions.
organic compounds, created in the upper atmosphere by The Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) was a
9.1 Formation of complex molecules 13

joint NASA/ESA proposal for exploration of Saturn's 9.1 Formation of complex molecules
moons.[143] It envisions a hot-air balloon oating in Ti-
tans atmosphere for six months. It was competing against The MillerUrey experiment and several following ex-
the Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) proposal periments have shown that with an atmosphere similar to
for funding. In February 2009 it was announced that that of Titan and the addition of UV radiation, complex
ESA/NASA had given the EJSM mission priority ahead molecules and polymer substances like tholins can be gen-
of the TSSM.[144] erated. The reaction starts with dissociation of nitrogen
There was also a notional concept for a Titan Mare Ex- and methane, forming hydrogen cyanide and acetylene. [163]
plorer (TiME), which would be a low-cost lander that Further reactions have been studied extensively.
would splash down in a lake in Titans northern hemi- It has been reported that when energy was applied to a
sphere and oat on the surface of the lake for three to combination of gases like those in Titans atmosphere ve
six months.[145][146][147] nucleotide bases, the building blocks of DNA and RNA,
Another mission to Titan proposed in early 2012 by Jason are among the many compounds produced. In addition,
Barnes, a scientist at the University of Idaho, is the Aerial amino acids, the building blocks of protein were found.
Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance It was the rst time nucleotide bases and amino acids had
(AVIATR): an unmanned plane (or drone) that would y been found in[164] such an experiment without liquid water
through Titans atmosphere and take high-denition im- being present.
ages of the surface of Titan. NASA did not approve the On April 3, 2013, NASA reported that complex organic
requested $715 million, and the future of the project is chemicals could arise on Titan based on studies simulat-
uncertain.[148][149][150] ing the atmosphere of Titan.[46]
Another lake lander project was proposed in late 2012
by the Spanish-based private engineering rm SENER
and the Centro de Astrobiologa in Madrid. The concept
9.2 Possible subsurface habitats
probe is called Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propelled
Laboratory simulations have led to the suggestion that
Explorer (TALISE).[151][152] The major dierence com-
enough organic material exists on Titan to start a chemi-
pared to the TiME probe would be that TALISE is envi-
cal evolution analogous to what is thought to have started
sioned with its own propulsion system and would there-
life on Earth. The analogy assumes the presence of liq-
fore not be limited to simply drifting on the lake when it
uid water for longer periods than is currently observable;
splashes down.
several theories suggest that liquid water from an impact
A Discovery Program contestant for its mission #13 is could be preserved under a frozen isolation layer.[165] It
Journey to Enceladus and Titan (JET), an astrobiology has also been theorized that liquid-ammonia oceans could
Saturn orbiter that would assess the habitability potential exist deep below the surface.[158][166] Another model sug-
of Enceladus and Titan.[153][154][155] gests an ammoniawater solution as much as 200 kilome-
In 2015, NASAs Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) ters (120 mi) deep beneath a water-ice crust with condi-
awarded a Phase II grant to a proposal[156] in order to tions that, although extreme by terrestrial standards, are
mature the concept of a submarine to explore the seas of such that life could survive.[159] Heat transfer between the
Titan.[157] interior and upper layers would be critical in sustaining
any subsurface oceanic life.[158] Detection of microbial
life on Titan would depend on its biogenic eects. That
the atmospheric methane and nitrogen might be of bio-
9 Prebiotic conditions and life logical origin has been examined, for example.[159]

Main article: Life on Titan


See also: Planetary habitability 9.3 Methane and life at the surface

Titan is thought to be a prebiotic environment rich in See also: Hypothetical types of biochemistry
complex organic chemistry[46] with a possible subsurface
liquid ocean serving as a biotic environment.[158][159][160] It has been suggested that life could exist in the lakes of
The CassiniHuygens mission was not equipped to pro- liquid methane [167]
on Titan, just as organisms on Earth live
vide evidence for biosignatures or complex organic com- in water. Such organisms would inhale H2 in place of
pounds; it showed an environment on Titan that is sim- O 2 , metabolize it with acetylene instead of glucose, and
ilar, in some ways, to ones theorized for the primordial exhale methane instead of carbon dioxide.[160][167]
Earth.[161] Scientists surmise that the atmosphere of early All living things on Earth (including methanogens) use
Earth was similar in composition to the current atmo- liquid water as a solvent; it is speculated that life on
sphere on Titan, with the important exception of a lack Titan might instead use a liquid hydrocarbon, such as
of water vapor on Titan.[162] methane or ethane.[168] Water is a stronger solvent than
14 10 SEE ALSO

methane.[169] Water is also more chemically reactive, ogy to Earth is inexact. At a vast distance from the
and can break down large organic molecules through Sun, Titan is frigid, and its atmosphere lacks CO2 .
hydrolysis.[168] A life-form whose solvent was a hydro- At Titans surface, water exists only in solid form.
carbon would not face the risk of its biomolecules being Because of these diculties, scientists such as Jonathan
destroyed in this way.[168] Lunine have viewed Titan less as a likely habitat for
In 2005, astrobiologist Chris McKay argued that if life, than as an experiment for examining theories on
methanogenic life did exist on the surface of Titan, it the conditions that prevailed prior to the appearance of
would likely have a measurable eect on the mixing ra- life on Earth.[173] Although life itself may not exist, the
prebiotic conditions on Titan and the associated organic
tio in the Titan troposphere: levels of hydrogen and
acetylene would be measurably lower than otherwise chemistry remain of great interest in understanding the
early history of the terrestrial biosphere.[161] Using Titan
expected.[167]
as a prebiotic experiment involves not only observation
In 2010, Darrell Strobel, from Johns Hopkins University, through spacecraft, but laboratory experiments, and
identied a greater abundance of molecular hydrogen in chemical and photochemical modeling on Earth.[163]
the upper atmospheric layers of Titan compared to the
lower layers, arguing for a downward ow at a rate of
roughly 1028 molecules per second and disappearance of 9.5 Panspermia hypothesis
hydrogen near Titans surface; as Strobel noted, his nd-
ings were in line with the eects McKay had predicted It is hypothesized that large asteroid and cometary im-
if methanogenic life-forms were present.[167][169][170] The pacts on Earths surface may have caused fragments of
same year, another study showed low levels of acetylene microbe-laden rock to escape Earths gravity, suggest-
on Titans surface, which were interpreted by McKay as ing the possibility of transpermia. Calculations indicate
consistent with the hypothesis of organisms consuming that these would encounter many of the bodies in the So-
hydrocarbons.[169] Although restating the biological hy- lar System, including Titan.[174][175] On the other hand,
pothesis, he cautioned that other explanations for the hy- Jonathan Lunine has argued that any living things in Ti-
drogen and acetylene ndings are more likely: the pos- tans cryogenic hydrocarbon lakes would need to be so
sibilities of yet unidentied physical or chemical pro- dierent chemically from Earth life that it would not be
cesses (e.g. a surface catalyst accepting hydrocarbons possible for one to be the ancestor of the other.[176]
or hydrogen), or aws in the current models of material
ow.[160] Composition data and transport models need to
be substantiated, etc. Even so, despite saying that a non- 9.6 Future conditions
biological catalytic explanation would be less startling
than a biological one, McKay noted that the discovery Conditions on Titan could become far more habitable in
of a catalyst eective at 95 K (180 C) would still be the far future. Five billion years from now, as the Sun
signicant.[160] becomes a red giant, its surface temperature could rise
enough for Titan to support liquid water on its surface
As NASA notes in its news article on the June 2010 nd- making it habitable.[177] As the Suns ultraviolet output
ings: To date, methane-based life forms are only hypo- decreases, the haze in Titans upper atmosphere will be
thetical. Scientists have not yet detected this form of life depleted, lessening the anti-greenhouse eect on the sur-
anywhere.[169] As the NASA statement also says: some face and enabling the greenhouse created by atmospheric
scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the ar- methane to play a far greater role. These conditions to-
gument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to gether could create a habitable environment, and could
life on Titans surface.[169] persist for several hundred million years. This was su-
In February 2015, a hypothetical cell membrane capa- cient time for simple life to spawn on Earth; the presence
ble of functioning in liquid methane in Titan conditions of ammonia on Titan would cause chemical reactions to
was modeled. Composed of small molecules contain- proceed more slowly.[178]
ing carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, it would have the
same stability and exibility as cell membranes on Earth,
which are composed of phospholipids, compounds of 10 See also
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus. This hy-
pothetical cell membrane was termed an "azotosome", Colonization of Titan
a combination of azote, French for nitrogen, and
"liposome".[171][172] Lakes of Titan
Life on Titan
9.4 Obstacles List of natural satellites
Titan in ction
Despite these biological possibilities, there are
formidable obstacles to life on Titan, and any anal- Saturns moons in ction
15

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22 15 TEXT AND IMAGE SOURCES, CONTRIBUTORS, AND LICENSES

15 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses


15.1 Text
Titan (moon) Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_(moon)?oldid=771978661 Contributors: The Epopt, Mav, Bryan Derksen, Tar-
quin, Stephen Gilbert, JeLuF, Rmhermen, William Avery, Roadrunner, SimonP, Frecklefoot, Michael Hardy, Alan Peakall, DopeshJustin,
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A-giau, Discospinster, Solitude, Rich Farmbrough, Guanabot, Sys2074, Vsmith, Florian Blaschke, Moochocoogle, Paul August, Spooky-
Mulder, TheOuthouseMouse, Bender235, ESkog, Cyclopia, AdamSolomon, Neko-chan, Pedant, RJHall, Kaszeta, Pt, El C, Lycurgus,
Huntster, Kwamikagami, Marx Gomes, Jtpnen, Worldtraveller, PhilHibbs, Tom, RoyBoy, Bookofjude, Adambro, Viriditas, Brim, Bbart-
log, Artw, Chrisvls, Matt McIrvin, Physicistjedi, Intrad~enwiki, Pacier, BillCook, Apostrophe, MPerel, Pharos, Jonathunder, Jason One,
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key, Evil Monkey, Tony Sidaway, Daedelus, Mike.m, Menelik3, Sciurin, Cmapm, C4 Diesel, Joshbrez, BDD, Gene Nygaard, Johntex,
Dan100, Ceyockey, Kbolino, Alex.g, WilliamKF, CCooke, Henrik, Etacar11, PoccilScript, Volcanopele, Benhocking, BillC, Benbest,
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Mike18xx, PhilipO, Moe Epsilon, Saberwyn, Mysid, Gadget850, Kortoso, Jeremy Visser, Calaschysm, Zzuuzz, Bobryuu, Jules.LT, Chase
me ladies, I'm the Cavalry, Josh3580, Reyk, Hurricanehink, Chris Brennan, Petri Krohn, Hurricane Devon, Scoutersig, Georey.landis,
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Saros136, Chris the speller, Bluebot, Hibernian, Bob the ducq, Miguel Andrade, DHN-bot~enwiki, Rlevse, Trekphiler, Tsca.bot, Can't
sleep, clown will eat me, Shalom Yechiel, Kelvin Case, Proofreader, CrnaGora, Run!, Darwins Bulldog, Aces lead, Caniago, Aeln,
Metebelis, Polonium, Mwtoews, Joe Hedrick, Nitr0smash, Ged UK, Ohconfucius, Hanksname, Philrosenberg, Harryboyles, Titus III,
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pants101, Sfmammamia, EmxBot, SieBot, StAnselm, Ivan tambuk, Moonriddengirl, PeterPredator, Caltas, Twinkler4, Deathgleaner,
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Murlough23, Astroguy2, OKBot, Maelgwnbot, LonelyMarble, Sean.hoyland, Maralia, Kalidasa 777, C0nanPayne, Velvetron, Martarius,
Sfan00 IMG, Elassint, ClueBot, Dead10ck, Sharkyx, Gonzomalan, Pomadgw, Drmies, Piledhigheranddeeper, SaturnCat, Solar-Wind,
FrancescoA~enwiki, Excirial, Ladne, Blkillgren, Hargitai, NuclearWarfare, Njardarlogar, Couchman93, Mtsmallwood, JasonAQuest,
Stepheng3, Another Believer, Berean Hunter, Johnuniq, SuddenFrost, Rreagan007, SilvonenBot, Mifter, Good Olfactory, Bradventure,
Sstarin, Mortense, Roentgenium111, Thright, DOI bot, Non-dropframe, Atethnekos, AcademyAD, Ashanda, 37ophiuchi, Obsidianspider,
Favonian, ChenzwBot, LinkFA-Bot, 84user, Numbo3-bot, Craigsjones, DubaiTerminator, Tide rolls, Lightbot, Catwoman7770, Pietrow,
Archeologo, , Luckas-bot, Yobot, Rccoms, Tbayboy, AnomieBOT, Archon 2488, Jim1138, Materialscientist, Citation
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Alumnum, Ute in DC, RibotBOT, Enceladusgeysers, Charvest, 78.26, The Wiki ghost, Mangst, Joaquin008, Silbad, Fotaun, FrescoBot,
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Bot, Serols, Xiglofre, Mikespedia, Tlhslobus, Full-date unlinking bot, Fartherred, SkyMachine, IVAN3MAN, JulliusCaesar0369, FoxBot,
Double sharp, Trappist the monk, Krassotkin, Callanecc, Aoidh, Reaper Eternal, Diannaa, Tbhotch, Stroppolo, Sideways713, DARTH
SIDIOUS 2, RjwilmsiBot, Bento00, Wembwandt, DASHBot, EmausBot, Orphan Wiki, Qurq, Racerx11, Britannic124, Slightsmile,
Tommy2010, Dcirovic, , K6ka, Eltomo85, AvicBot, Josve05a, A2soup, Other Choices, DrZygote214, Hevron1998,
H3llBot, Eniagrom, Rohedin, RIPGC, Staszek Lem, L1A1 FAL, Donner60, EvenGreenerFish, Stanleytux, Somekidnamedalex, Terra
Novus, Whoop whoop pull up, ClueBot NG, Gareth Grith-Jones, Orian90, Xession, Telemachus.forward, Baseball Watcher, Brain-
cricket, O.Koslowski, Alpha7248, Widr, Helpful Pixie Bot, Helvitica Bold, Newyork1501, Bibcode Bot, WNYY98, Lowercase sigmabot,
BG19bot, Guy vandegrift, Kndimov, Mynameisnoted, MusikAnimal, AvocatoBot, Ninney, Cncmaster, Fcrary, Hurriquake, Trevayne08,
Pizzamaker142857, Mejoribus, Newtonsghost, Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1, Steeldragon7, Zedshort, Hamish59, Tencents123, 21ds12,
15.2 Images 23

Klilidiplomus, MarcSmulders, The Uncyclopedian, 1209love, BattyBot, Miszatomic, Youyou870, Cyberbot II, U-95, Arcandam, Baot-
dutyso, Shadeofpoop, EuroCarGT, Weegee82, Kelvin13, Dexbot, Br'er Rabbit, Mogism, Inayity, Pluto and Beyond, Lugia2453, Side-
light12, RandomLittleHelper, Reatlas, Fycafterpro, F6Zman, Greengreengreenred, Jcpag2012, Voidz, Desired Username 1, Master of
Time, NYBrook098, Eagle3399, Green1jeet, Articial123, Sputnikhead72, Anythingcouldhappen, Exoplanetaryscience, Noyster, Anti-
CompositeNumber, Joshuafrank3, Dmawkp, 7Sidz, TheRedJay37, Aakash.lahoti14, Monkbot, Pancakes78, Conner129, Jayakumar RG,
Djheming, Austin fridenberg, Autobhan-Suh, Penguins-twerk, Thereppy, Pabnau, Wikiwookie2014, Hamzairfan44, Loraof, Pussyinboots,
Zachyamauchi, Jklinm, Mithil..10, Hornzaladyboi117, Tetra quark, Stevew602, 18jsanchez, DN-boards1, Jdcomix, KasparBot, Diiddiidid,
LivOric, Edulovers, HalloweenNight, Martin sarreri, Boukmal, Qzd, Entranced98, Space Inquiries, Colonel Wilhelm Klink, AviRon012,
GreenC bot, Fmadd, Neo22000, Darrell Strobel, RPF2, Deicey, CodaThePortalMaster, Ziaozi, Zingvin, Bigdaddy69420, TheGameCove,
Bmags16 and Anonymous: 671

15.2 Images
File:Christiaan_Huygens-painting.jpeg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Christiaan_Huygens-painting.
jpeg License: Public domain Contributors: http://ressources2.techno.free.fr/informatique/sites/inventions/inventions.html Original artist:
Caspar Netscher (circa 16391684)
File:HRICoastLineMoasic_H.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/HRICoastLineMoasic_H.jpg Li-
cense: Public domain Contributors: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galleries/titan-river-channel Original artist: NASA
File:He1523a.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/He1523a.jpg License: CC BY 4.0 Contributors: http:
//www.solstation.com/x-objects/he1523.htm Original artist: ESO, European Southern Observatory
File:Huygens_surface_color.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Huygens_surface_color.jpg License:
Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA07232 (direct link) Original artist: ESA/NASA/JPL/University
of Arizona
File:Huygens_surface_color_sr.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Huygens_surface_color_sr.jpg Li-
cense: Public domain Contributors: Combined the pre-processed raw triplets #773, #931, #948, #961, #985 and #991 taken from
http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/titanraw/index.htm using PhotoAcute Studio and overlayed the colored image taken from http://www.
esa.int/SPECIALS/Cassini-Huygens/SEMC8Q71Y3E_1.html. Original artist: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; processed by An-
drey Pivovarov
File:Liquid_lakes_on_titan.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Liquid_lakes_on_titan.jpg License:
Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA09102 Original artist: NASA / JPL-Caltech / USGS
File:Lock-green.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg License: CC0 Contributors: en:File:
Free-to-read_lock_75.svg Original artist: User:Trappist the monk
File:Montagem_Sistema_Solar.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Montagem_Sistema_Solar.jpg Li-
cense: Public domain Contributors: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/display.cfm?Category=Planets&IM_ID=10164 Original artist:
NASA
File:NASA-Cassini-Saturn-TitanFlybyTests-20140617.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/
NASA-Cassini-Saturn-TitanFlybyTests-20140617.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/cassini/
20140617/cassini20140617-full.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech
File:PIA08391_Epimetheus,_Rings_and_Titan.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/PIA08391_
Epimetheus%2C_Rings_and_Titan.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA08391 Original
artist: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
File:PIA10008_Seas_and_Lakes_on_Titan.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/PIA10008_Seas_and_
Lakes_on_Titan.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/?IDNumber=PIA10008 Original artist:
NASA / JPL-Caltech / USGS
File:PIA12481_Titan_specular_reflection.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c4/PIA12481_Titan_
specular_reflection.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA12481 Original artist:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/DLR
File:PIA18309-SaturnMoonTitan-SenkyoRegion-20150108.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c8/
PIA18309-SaturnMoonTitan-SenkyoRegion-20150108.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/
PIA18309.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
File:PIA18420-Titan-MethaneClouds-20140722.gif Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/
PIA18420-Titan-MethaneClouds-20140722.gif License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/
PIA18420_200.gif Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
File:PIA18430-SaturnMoon-Titan-EvolvingFeature-20140821.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/
PIA18430-SaturnMoon-Titan-EvolvingFeature-20140821.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/
jpeg/PIA18430.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell
File:PIA18431-SaturnMoon-Titan-SouthPoleVortex-Cloud-20121129.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/
commons/c/c1/PIA18431-SaturnMoon-Titan-SouthPoleVortex-Cloud-20121129.jpg License: Public domain Contributors:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA18431.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/University of Arizona/SSI/Leiden
Observatory and SRON
File:PIA19052-SaturnMoon-Titan-LigeiaMare-SAR&DespeckledViews-20150212.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/
wikipedia/commons/1/1b/PIA19052-SaturnMoon-Titan-LigeiaMare-SAR%26DespeckledViews-20150212.jpg License: Public domain
Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19052 Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI
File:PIA19657-SaturnMoon-Titan-NorthPole-20140407.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/
PIA19657-SaturnMoon-Titan-NorthPole-20140407.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/
PIA19657_fig2.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
24 15 TEXT AND IMAGE SOURCES, CONTRIBUTORS, AND LICENSES

File:PIA19657-SaturnMoon-Titan-SouthPole-20140407.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f1/


PIA19657-SaturnMoon-Titan-SouthPole-20140407.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/
PIA19657_fig4.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
File:PIA20016-SaturnMoon-Titan-20151113.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/
PIA20016-SaturnMoon-Titan-20151113.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA20016.jpg
Original artist: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho
File:PIA20021-SaturnMoonTitan-MagicIsland-20160302.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/
PIA20021-SaturnMoonTitan-MagicIsland-20160302.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/
PIA20021_fig1.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell
File:PIA20713-Titan-SaturnMoon-LabeledFeaturesIAU-June2015.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/
7/7b/PIA20713-Titan-SaturnMoon-LabeledFeaturesIAU-June2015.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.
nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA20713.jpg Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/USGS
File:Rhea_true_color.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Rhea_true_color.jpg License: Public domain
Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06578 Original artist: NASA/JPL
File:Solar_system.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/83/Solar_system.jpg License: Public domain Con-
tributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA03153 Original artist: NASA/JPL
File:Sotra_Facula.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Sotra_Facula.jpg License: Public domain Con-
tributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA13695 Original artist: NASA/JPL
File:Sound-icon.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Sound-icon.svg License: LGPL Contributors:
Derivative work from Silsor's versio Original artist: Crystal SVG icon set
File:Speakerlink-new.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Speakerlink-new.svg License: CC0 Contribu-
tors: Own work Original artist: Kelvinsong
File:Specular_Spectacular_(PIA18432).jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a0/Specular_Spectacular_
%28PIA18432%29.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA18432
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18432
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/display.cfm?News_ID=48359
Original artist: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona / University of Idaho
File:TSSM-TandEM-Montgolfiere.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/
TSSM-TandEM-Montgolfiere.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: TSSM NASA/ESA joint summary report Original artist:
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Corby Waste
File:Titan{}s_orbit.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Titan%27s_orbit.svg License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Contributors: Vectorized in Inkscape by Mysid from Image:Titan{}s orbit.jpg. Original artist: Made by Rubble pile in Celestia, vectorized
by Mysid in Inkscape.
File:Titan{}s_thick_haze_layer-picture_from_voyager1.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Titan%
27s_thick_haze_layer-picture_from_voyager1.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: ? Original artist: ?
File:Titan,_Earth_&_Moon_size_comparison.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Titan%2C_Earth_
%26_Moon_size_comparison.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg
FullMoon2010.jpg
Titan in true color.jpg Original artist: Apollo 17 Picture of the Whole Earth: NASA

Telescopic Image of the Full Moon: Gregory H. Revera

Image of Titan: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


File:Titan-Complex_'Anti-greenhouse'.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Titan-Complex_
%27Anti-greenhouse%27.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: ? Original artist: ?
File:Titan-Earth-PolarClouds-20141024.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/
Titan-Earth-PolarClouds-20141024.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/
nasa-identifies-ice-cloud-above-cruising-altitude-on-titan/ (image link) Original artist: Titan (L): NASA/JPL/U. of Ariz./LPGNantes
Earth (R): NASA/GSFC/M. Schoeberl
File:Titan-SaturnMoon-Maps-TraceGases-20141022.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/
Titan-SaturnMoon-Maps-TraceGases-20141022.jpg License: CC BY 3.0 Contributors: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/
thumbnails/image/titanmoleculesimage.jpg Original artist: NRAO/AUI/NSF
File:Titan2005.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Titan2005.jpg License: Public domain Contributors:
Original le from JPL Photojournal. Additional editing by Kaldari (seams removed, distortion corrected, missing corner extrapolated).
Original artist: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
File:Titan_(moon).ogg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Titan_%28moon%29.ogg License: CC BY-SA
3.0 Contributors:
Derivative of Titan (moon) Original artist: Speaker: Mangst
Authors of the article
File:Titan_2009-01_ISS_polar_maps.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/Titan_2009-01_ISS_polar_
maps.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: File:TitanMapJan2009.jpg, http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA11146 Original
artist: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
File:Titan_S._polar_lake_changes_2004-5.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Titan_S._polar_lake_
changes_2004-5.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://ciclops.org/view/5458/Changes_in_Titans_Lakes Original artist:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
15.3 Content license 25

File:Titan_and_rings_PIA14909.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Titan_and_rings_PIA14909.jpg


License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14909 Original artist: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Sci-
ence Institute
File:Titan_dunes_crop.png Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Titan_dunes_crop.png License: Public do-
main Contributors: File:Titan dunes.jpg Original artist: NASA/JSC - uppper photo; NASA/JPL - lower photo
File:Titan_globe_m.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/Titan_globe_m.jpg License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Contributors: Own work (Original text: Image/upload by author) Original artist: Hargitai at English Wikipedia
File:Titan_in_natural_color_Cassini.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Titan_in_natural_color_
Cassini.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06230 (cropped and rotated from the origi-
nal)
Original artist: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
File:Titan_in_true_color.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Titan_in_true_color.jpg License: Public
domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14602 Original artist: NASA
File:Titan_multi_spectral_overlay.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Titan_multi_spectral_overlay.
jpg License: Public domain Contributors:
NASA planetary photojournal, PIA06139Original artist: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
File:Titan_poster.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Titan_poster.svg License: CC BY 3.0 Contributors:
Own work Original artist: Kelvinsong
File:Titancrater.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Titancrater.jpg License: Public domain Contribu-
tors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA09175 Original artist: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech / ASI (original uploader
was Serendipodous at en.wikipedia)
File:Top_of_Atmosphere.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Top_of_Atmosphere.jpg License: Public
domain Contributors: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=ISS013&roll=E&frame=54329 Original artist: NASA Earth
Observatory
File:Tortola_Facula_in_infrared.jpg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Tortola_Facula_in_infrared.jpg
License: Public domain Contributors: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA07962 (enlarged 200% and cropped to focus on Tor-
tola) Original artist: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona / LPL; modied by User:Huntster
File:Vortex_on_saturn{}s_moon_titan.png Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Vortex_on_saturn%27s_
moon_titan.png License: Public domain Contributors: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120724.html Original artist: NASA/JPL, et. al.
File:Wikiquote-logo.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Wikiquote-logo.svg License: Public domain
Contributors: Own work Original artist: Rei-artur
File:Wikisource-logo.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Contributors: Original artist:Nicholas Moreau

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