Titan, Sandcastle Capital of the Solar System

There are a number of reasons to create a human outpost on Titan instead of Mars.

For one, Mars is a very inhospitable lifeless place, 1% Earth’s atmosphere, and few resources. Although it once had more water than the Arctic ocean, it’s lost 87% into space. Going there would be like going to a freezing desert with no air.

On Titan however, there is an atmosphere, and hydrocarbons everywhere. Liquid Methane lakes could be used to fuel anything we bring or build there. It’ the only place in the solar system, other than on Earth has lakes.

There may even be methane based life there.

It’s very cold on Titan, -290 degrees F, -179 C, but you wouldn’t need a pressurized suit, just a warm one with a breathing mask.

It’s atmosphere is 95% nitrogen and 5% methane. The air pressure is 1.5 times that of Earth.

The gravity on Titan is 14% that of Earth’s, so we would almost be like superman able to leap high, and lift heavy objects.

Titan is in a tidal lock with Saturn, which means one side is always facing the gas giant. Imagine the view. If you were standing on the Saturn side, it would fill up almost half the sky.

One day on Titan is 16 Earth days, so longer periods of fun in the sun.

This is a good thing, because Titan is also the number one destination for building sandcastles.

Titan has sand dunes as high as 100 meters, 300 feet that lean into the wind. One way this would be possible is if the sand they were made of had an electric charge.

Sand dunes in the Namib Desert on Earth (top), compared with dunes in Belet on Titan. Credit: NASA/JSC

This means if you made a sandcastle on Titan, it could stay there for weeks at a time.

Titan’s sand is not made of silicon dioxide like on Earth. It’s made of water ice coated with hydrocarbons. The wind blowing the grains of sand over one another could create an electrostatic charge and cause them to stick to one another.

This is like rubbing a balloon against your hair and sticking it to the wall.

On Titan this charge could last from days to months due to low gravity. This means your sandcastle would need pretty strong winds to blow it away.

Titan is such an alien, electrostatically sticky world.

Thank you for reading.

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One thought on “Titan, Sandcastle Capital of the Solar System

  1. emynwen says:

    Thank you. Your language is very understandable. Once we start colonizing the planets one will lead to the other. Mars is closer so it just seems to make sense to start there. But with that logic we should be colonizing the Moon.

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