Amphibious exploration of Titan

Amphibious exploration of Titan

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Credit: JON LOMBERG/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Amphibious exploration of Titan. Artwork showing the exploration of Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn, using amphibious vehicles. These would be required to traverse the solid and liquid parts of the surface. Titan is known to have traces of many hydrocarbons compounds in its nitrogen atmosphere. These result from sunlight acting on the methane in Titan's upper atmosphere. Clouds of methane and ethane vapour would result in a rain of liquid hydrocarbons, and the possibility of ethane oceans on the surface. The surface temperature is cold (minus 180 degrees Celsius), but warm enough for the formation of liquid ethane and a slushy goo of hydrocarbon liquids on water ice.

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