web analytics

Chris McKay: Saturns Moon Titan – A World with Rivers, Lakes and Possibly Even Life

Cassini radar mosaic of Titan's north polar region. Blue coloring indicates low radar reflectivity, caused by hydrocarbon seas, lakes and tributary networks filled with liquid ethane, methane and dissolved N2.

Cassini radar mosaic of Titan’s north polar region. Blue coloring indicates low radar reflectivity, caused by hydrocarbon seas, lakes and tributary networks filled with liquid ethane, methane and dissolved N2. Credit: NASA / JPL / USGS

Hosted by the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures, in a talk held on March 9, 2011. Dr. Chris McKay from NASA’s Ames Research Center talks about Titan, Saturn’s largest satellite.

Titan is the only moon with a thick atmosphere. In many ways, Titan is a cold twin of the Earth, with liquid methane playing the same role there as water plays on our planet. Life on Earth is based on liquid water; could there be life on Titan based on liquid methane? Dr. McKay (co-investigator on the Huygens probe that landed on Titan) discusses the new picture we have of this alien world, with its lakes, its rivers, and its rocks made of water ice.

Founded in 1999, the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures are presented on selected Wednesday evenings during the school year at Foothill College, in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley.

RelatedPost