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Could Saturn’s moon Titan have an underground ocean?

'tides' on Titan /NASA

‘tides’ on Titan /NASA

From “Squishiness of Saturn’s moon suggests salty ocean below surface” (Associated Press Posted: Jun 30, 2012), we learn, “Measurements from Cassini spacecraft best evidence yet of water on giant moon Titan”:

Scientists did not delve into the characteristics of the ocean, but previous estimates suggested it could be 50 to 100 kilometres deep and contain traces of ammonia. Titan is one of the few worlds in the solar system with a significant atmosphere, and the presence of an underground ocean could help explain how Titan replenishes methane in its hazy atmosphere.

Having an internal body of water would also make Titan an attractive place to study whether it would be capable of supporting microbial life. Other moons on the shortlist: Jupiter’s Europa, where an underground ocean is thought to exist and another Saturn moon, Enceladus, where jets have been seen spewing from the surface.

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2 Responses to Could Saturn’s moon Titan have an underground ocean?

  1. I’ve seen comments other places where the assumption is that the Scientist, who should know enough to be more precise, meant “under ice ocean”.

    Underground lakes are not uncommon on Earth. But a body of water big enough to be called an “ocean” would do strange things to whatever solid ground was on top of it.

    Although this is not frequently mentioned by the SETI guys, Jupiter generates HUGE amounts of radiation that effectively sterilze the surface of its moons every minute of every day. The desire for there to be an ocean of water under a sheet of ice is that several miles of ice might just barely provide enough insulation to prevent continuous sterilization of the “ocean”. Thus there is a teeny-weeny outside chance that there is some pond scum growing next to the thermal vents.

    Rational, objective observers of course conclude that Europa is likely to be as dead as Mercury, which is also bathed in enough radiation to guarantee sterilization.

  2. Most all of this conjecture is a tortuous attempt to save the sacrosanct age of the solar system

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