You’d think that Mars or Moon are the contenders to house the first human space colony, but Saturn’s Titan might take home the prize.
People have dreamed of colonizing space pretty much ever since we realized that the floating globes above us are planets similar to our Earth. However, we always thought that we would start off somewhere near and familiar, like the Moon or Mars. But new discoveries are suggesting Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, as a perfect first home away from home for the human race.
A new study available on arXiv (originally published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach) has reason to believe that Titan, which has more similarities to our planet than any other in the solar system, is our best shot.
The paper was written by Amanda Hendrix from the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona and Yuk Yung from Caltech in California, and says that “Saturn’s moon Titan is the optimal location in the solar system for an off-Earth human settlement.”
They go on to point out that the moon has several sources of energy that could be exploited in order to support a large human colony. Based on previous findings, Titan’s power sources include nuclear, chemical, hydropower, wind and solar energy.
“It has Earth-like qualities and a thick atmosphere that provides shielding from damaging radiation unlike any other solid surface location in the solar system,” the report says.
As far as we know, Titan has an abundance of methane, with huge lakes of flowing hydrocarbons. These same lakes can be used to harvest hydropower.
Although scientists recently discovered that waves on the moon don’t reach higher that one centimeter, researchers believe that by creating a downhill flow they could generate enough force to generate power.
Winds on Titan’s surface aren’t that fierce, but speed up with altitude. At an altitude of 40 kilometers, winds travel with a speed of 20 meters per second. That’s fast enough to generate hundreds of megawatts.
As it seems, the biggest problem we have in building a colony on Titan is getting up there with all the materials we need. But if one thing is sure, scientists are working on it and will have it figured out soon.