Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Would You Want To Live On Saturn's Titan?

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Of all the worlds that have danced around the Sol star, none of them have, or will ever rival our home world Earth. Unparalleled in beauty, the view from a thousand miles away is enough to take one's heart away.

With a world requiring little, if any technology for human habitation, why would any one consider moving towards a moon shrouded in clouds that is over a billion kilometers from the Sun?

Unlike many of the lunar and planetary spheres that float around our Sun star, Saturn's Titan is blessed with an atmosphere that allows humans to walk upon its presence without the need of a standard vacuum suit.

Although early pioneers will need to be well equipped with a "warm suit," such technology may be easier to construct than clothing oneself with material that can withstand zero atmosphere.

Titan's atmosphere is approximately 1.5 times that of Earth. Although the denser air pressure may make walking on Titan feel as if you were at the bottom of a swimming pool, the "heavy" air does have some advantages.

Residents upon this orange world would easily be able to transport themselves around the planet with a pair of "artificial wings," something that would make Leonardo De Vinci proud to hear. This could lead towards Titan being crowned as the solar capital for air sports (such as sky diving, surfing, etc.) and might even lead towards a futuristic "aerial Olympics."

Despite the fact that Titan's clouds block out most (if not all) of the sky, those gifted in the arts may also find Titan's "burnt orange" horizon a welcoming backdrop compared to the pinkish sky on Mars or the blue sky on Earth. Astronomers aside, living within the orange skyline may become a solar attraction, setting the world apart from rivals within the star system.

But if residents are not attracted by either the view of living on a foreign moon or the aerial sports, they will be inspired by the tunes created by the musicians living there. With Titan's denser atmosphere, residents will be able to enjoy a richer symphony of music that will rival--if not surpass--the sounds heard on Earth (provided they can create and play them in the frigid temperatures).


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(Video: What music would sound like on Earth, Titan, and Venus. Credits: Edward Willett)

Despite the fact that it will be Titan's methane lakes and scattered ice rocks that will finance and enable future inhabitants upon Saturn's favorite moon, respectively, its artistic beauty and unique environment may keep the masses from moving off world.




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2 comments:

  1. Hi Colony Worlds

    One advantage for human powered flight is the low gravity - 14% of Earth's. And if there was ever a world where pushing an airship into orbit was possible (ala JP Aerospace's plan) it would be Titan, with an orbital velocity of just 1,600 m/s.

    But what about terraforming? Obviously Titan is too cold for human comfort currently and probably too icy to want to increase to room temperature. But what if we raised the average temperature to 233 K? That's cold, but manageable - there's a few Russian towns that endure such environs. With fusion-powered heating systems it'd be no problem at all.

    There's definitely carbon dioxide on Titan so we'd have something to convert into oxygen other than ice, and with the right mix of fluorocarbons we might be able to warm Titan enough by increasing its effective insolation to just 10% Earth-normal. That would need a soletta collecting an area of sunlight 10 times bigger than Titan, thus it would be about sqrt[11] times as wide - assuming it's directly behind Titan relative to the Sun. Big, but not ridiculous. Some energy could be diverted into a beam to pyrolyse carbon dioxide or water to make oxygen. So what do you reckon?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Anonymous!

    Those are some good ideas, although I am somewhat skeptical when it comes to terraforming large worlds (not that I think its beyond our ability, but rather that many humans have short attention spans and may lose interest if it took longer than a century).

    But even if we left Titan as it is, it would still be a vary interesting world just from the science alone on that frigid moon.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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