TIDES OF TITAN: An Underground Liquid Ocean

Saturn's moon Titan

BIG NEWS HERE SPORTS FANS! NASA announced last week that its Cassini probe has established that Saturn’s moon Titan (seen in that sexy NASA/Cassini photo up top) experiences significant tidal bulging that must be caused by an ocean of liquid water trapped beneath the moon’s solid surface.

And you’re wondering: what has this to do with the sport of yachting???

Well… I’m hoping it means NASA will be at least a little more likely to fund construction of the very first extraterrestrial yacht, the Titan Mare Explorer (or TiME), first proposed in 2009, which would be blasted into space and set adrift on one of the large liquid methane lakes on Titan’s surface. The TiME project was one of three new space-probe ventures selected by NASA last year for concept development; a final selection will be made after further review this year.

So keep your fingers crossed.

Scientists are already speculating that the underground ocean of liquid water, were it laced with ammonia, might well play an important role in replenishing the methane on Titan’s surface and in its atmosphere.

Titan cross-section

Speculative cross-section of Titan’s interior

Titan Mare Explorer

TiME in action (artist’s rendition). Afloat on a sea of methane (how cool is that???)

To make it even more likely that NASA moves forward with the TiME program, I suggest you dun them via their contact page here.

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